YouTubers trying their hand at music is a tale as old as time, and Matt Watson is no different as he just released his debut album on November 7th. Watson’s claim to fame is being one half of gaming duo SuperMega alongside Ryan Magee and getting knocked out in 22 seconds in a celebrity fight. But the difference between Matt Watson and most YouTubers who try to make music is Watson's experience.
Watson’s YouTube career includes stints in musical comedy group Cyndago and comedy songs on his own Youtube channel. Watson fully stepped into the music scene in 2020 with his first EP, OUCH! That EP was a indie pop album, differing from the style Watson had used in his YouTube videos. Watson blended electronic and chiptune styles into a short but favorable Ep. Watson clearly had a vision for OUCH!, and blending his production with some sad and minimalist vocals. Throughout 2021, Watson released multiple singles throughout 2021, including “Bored”, “Monopoly”, and “I’m Sick”. Each of these singles were short, fun songs, but they lacked a lot of substance.
SEE YOU THERE is Watson’s first full length album, and he comes out swinging. “STARTSTUD” is the first song and features Sarah Bonito from Kero Kero Bonito as a feature. The song is vocally different from anything Watson has released before. Instead of monotone, depressing vocals, Watson is in a completely different range and sounds excited on the record. Sarah Bonito lends her unique voice for this track and is a great contrast to Watson. The song is about falling madly in love with someone and hoping not to screw it up. The production is great on this track with its bombastic chiptune style.
The second track is “Work It Out”. This is something more align to what I was expecting out of a Matt Watson album. The style is very similar to OUCH!, but the production is strengthened by synths. Matt’s voice is also vocally stronger here and he seems more confident in his musical ability than he was on OUCH! This song is about Matt trying to fix a failing relationship. The third track is titled “Ok Then” and is more of a pop rap track. The song is about Watson’s existential dread of growing old and wishing to go back to his teenage years where he was happy. The production is a basic beat with a good guitar rift thrown in there now and then. This is the first time Watson has used a guitar in a song before with most of his music being electronic.
“Coral” is the fourth track and is one of the best songs on the album. It’s a heavy guitar song with dreamy production that evokes immense sadness. Watson sings about wanting to express his love for a girl but being scared of rejection. Unlike past songs, Watson doesn’t overextend his lyricism and lets his production speak for him. Watson isn’t a great lyricist but is able to write catchy songs. Watson vocally feels really vulnerable on this track and that leads me to come back to it over and over again.
“WACKY” is another track that would fit right in with OUCH! Watson sings about being a wacky inflatable arm man who craves the attention of a girl who doesn’t reciprocate it. The production is also great on this track, jumping back to the chiptune style. The song ends with a tonal shift and a phenomenal guitar solo. Afterward we get to the first interlude of the album “Still I Dream Of It (Interlude 1)”. Watson sings about dreaming of a perfect life where he falls in love. The song then turns into a joke phone message from Ryan Magee, Matt’s Cohost on SuperMega.
The seventh track is titled “Aquarium” and is a emo rock song in Watson’s style. The chorus is very catchy as Watson sings about how he can’t stand the thought of his ex being with someone else, to the point where he either wants her dead or with him. The guitar and drums on this song are alright, but they aren’t strong compared to the rest of the production on this song. The next song is “Ring Pop” and is my least favorite track on this album. Its another rap pop song where Watson sings about being in a relationship with someone who gives him little thought. The song features a verse by Father, who does a brag rap verse that doesn’t fit with the theme of the song. Matt’s vocals come off as whiny and come off as weak compared to the other songs on the album. The production is great though, coming off as a dreamy beat. But overall, I would skip this song on another listen of the album.
“Balance” is the next song and blends the multiple style of the album the best. The production blends the guitar rifts with the chiptune sounds well. This is another rap pop song with Watson singing about the balance of in his life and how he’ll change it for love. Watson’s back to some more monotone vocals. The lyrics are fine and the chorus is once again catchy. This song is actually the lead single for the album. The tenth song on the album is “STUPID”. It tells the story of a person who’s cheated on their partner and regrets it. The production is slowed down for this song and evokes the feeling of sadness from the get-go. The song is a emo pop song where Matt experiments with autotune throughout. Its pretty repetitive with the lyrics all being a variation of “ I don’t wanna hurt you but, I already did. And you don’t even know it yet.” But the song is memorable and if you’re in a sad mood, its definitely a great listen.
The second to last song is another interlude titled “Even Now (Interlude 2)”. The song is a cover of Barry Manilow’s track of the same now. Watson mixes his signature chiptune style with synths and piano on this track. Watson also distorts his voice with autotune until the chorus where he comes out clearly. The song is one of the strongest for Watson vocally as he adapts to the stylings of Manilow. The song also fits with the theme of the album as it talks about still thinking about an ex after moving on and meeting someone new. Even though this was a cover, this was one of my favorite tracks on the album. The production is fantastic and different from Manilow’s version. Matt is also at his best vocally even with the autotune distorting his voice for the majority of the song. He manages to come off as vulnerable while hitting the power notes of the song. I honestly prefer it to Manilow’s version.
The last song of the album is “NEBRASKA”. The previous interlude leads perfectly into this song as it’s a 80s style pop song. This song perfectly concludes Watson’s journey of love as he finds someone as broken as him. He promises to not let his partner go and to stay right there by their side. The song ends with a throw back lyric to “Work It Out” and a beautiful orchestra ending. The production mixes synths and piano with the orchestra to great effect. Matt’s vocals are great in this song as once again you can feel his vulnerability and optimism throughout. “NEBRASKA” ends the album off strong.
Overall, I really like this album. At only 40 minutes on twelve tracks, it’s a quick and action-packed listen. Watson had a clear vision and heavily improved his game from OUCH! It’s a lot more experimental and all over the place than his previous EP was, but most of the songs worked and the misses were few and far between. The only song I really didn’t like on this album was “Ring Pop”, but that wasn’t my favorite style of music anyway. Songs like “NEBRASKA”, “Coral”, “Even Now (Interlude 2)”, and “STARSTUD” would probably be put on multiple playlists of mine. This is an album that for me, gets better after every listen. I give it a 7/10.