Matt Steele has this summer’s vibe on lock. The genre-agnostic singer-songwriter’s latest, called “Vintage Photo Filter” captures the current atmosphere of trying to make the most of these sunny days while also feeling trapped in the churn of making content. “To me, the moment right now is: We're all kind of burned out on social media. Everybody's feeling anxious and worrying about the future and making rent. And so, you know, the music for that situation is maybe something more like ‘Vintage Photo Filter’, where we want to have something we can pop our heads to—but also something that captures all of that gloom,” says Steele about the Beach Boys-meets-Weezer track.
The tune simmers, smoulders and shimmers while Steele drops lyrical ice cubes like “Everything’s so crystal clear/Sometimes I wanna disappear” or “I like that vintage photo filter/It brings me back in time/Cause I’ve been skipping my coffee, saving my pennies/And feeling kind of dead inside.”
“So many really, really popular songs are sad songs that people just don't really—I don't know if they don't get it, or maybe it's just like it's a subconscious human emotion in some way,” Steele says, listing Springsteen’s “Born In The USA” and Hillsburn’s “Room Across The Hall” as examples. “It is kind of very similar to ‘Vintage Photo Filter’,” he muses. “It's like: ‘What happened to this carefree, getting stoned, sleeping until 10am summer?’ kind of vibe. Like, now we gotta be adults. But the song is still super happy…We want to get our medicine with a spoonful of sugar, I guess.”
Simply put, not since Kacey Musgraves’ “Happy & Sad” have your ears been graced with such a crying-smiling alchemy for weeping into the sea. In fact, Team Coast loves the tune so much that we asked Steele to debut an acoustic version with us, which he does in the exclusive video below. It’s our official nomination for song of the summer: