Matthew Heller has never shied away from the hard truths of life in his music.
Revealing, confessional, brutal honesty, and self-reflection is the stuff of Heller’s songs,
but in his new single, “Bad Idea”, Heller ties together humor and hip-hop turn of phrase.
The result is an indy-rock flecked piano ballad that tells the story of a suicidal ex-lover who eventually ends up in a padded mental health unit. Bending between melancholy and optimistic, bitter and grateful, “Bad Idea” – produced by and featuring multiple instrumental performances by produced by David Pollock (CAKE, Wild Ones) - is an immediate modern pop classic.
“Bad Idea” comes on the heels on Heller’s most recent full length, Maybe My Love Was Just Right. The dirty pop-rock of this record, fueled by propulsive rhythm and driving basslines, ignited by tight chords and tighter melodies, prickles with palpable energy, oscillating between agitation and exhilaration.
Prior to that, Heller had released a beautiful record called Temple Moon Desire. The record, produced by Pollock, is imbued with compassion born of tragedy. Tour in support of the record was scheduled to start February 1 st , 2020 - but the global Covid-19 Pandemic brought it to a screeching halt. As the Pandemic shut down the music industry, it also shut down the ... everything. When Heller started working with producer Mike Coykendall (M. Ward, She & Him, Bright Eyes), he was in between three different toxic relationships with partners that were abusive, malicious and habitually cruel. Even though he was writing and recording, something was wrong. Eventually his drummer, saxophonist and close friend Ian Christensen told him he had to make a change.
Heller began writing songs that told the story of the work of becoming a better person.
He had tracked a bunch of demos with Coykendall and Simon Winestock (David Bowie,
Sting, Tears for Fears), and recorded some pristine multis with Pollock. He enlisted
Katie Buchanan to add additional production, but they ended up reproducing an entire
record together over the summer of 2020.
Heller realized, the whole album, every song, from all their different timepoints and origins, where only about one thing; learning to become a better person. Inspired, Heller was determined to burn bright as his truest self. To come out of the closet as a weirdo, to move away from sensitive guy and into radical flamboyancy. The chill evenings taught him to cool down and accept the apologies from those who had hurt him, and to
apologize to those he'd hurt. He vowed to no longer look at events in his life as failures, but as steps slowly inching toward the precipice of nirvana. It is through this lens that Heller has interpreted a particularly Bad Idea.