One of the most beautiful experiences I’ve had the pleasure of living through is being vulnerable with another person, and another beautiful experience was listening to Matthew Lee Cothran’s newest album “My First Love Mends My Final Days.” It’s incredible how an album seems to fall into my life when I need it the most. I needed to hear sounds of vulnerability; I needed to hear sounds that remind me that its okay to wander in my head. This album reminds me of the how necessary it is to finally give in to your emotions, to allow yourself those moments of reflection, to look back on your past, to give yourself space to experience emotions.
Cothran’s ability to disarm me in “First Love” happens in the very first line, “my first love mends my final days like a porch light left on after everyone’s gone” it speaks to the moments where I realize that falling in love has challenged me to experience life as honestly as possible. I took the time to build armor that guarded against pain and suffering, and this armor guarded me throughout my relationships with friends/family. It kept me from connecting with others, but it also kept me from experiencing disappointment, the mindset of my younger self “to hold onto nothing” kept me safe from getting too close to be hurt. I’ve since grown up, I’ve identified that cutting yourself off from feelings may protect you from pain but, it removed my ability to feel happiness and inspiration.
The songs on “My First Love Mends My Final Days” put my personal growth into focus, I’ve since learned the importance of boundaries, self-care and to allow myself to be vulnerable when necessary. The beauty heard in the soft synths, electric drums and piano in “Little More Time” illustrate a humbling experience of loss, Cothran captures a fear of mine I hope never to live: “Cancer turned him into ashes before I said goodbye.” Death may be inevitable in our lives, but its one experience that will never feel normal, the loss of a loved one without closure is something that keeps me awake at night. “Little More Time” continues with words of morbid truth “just ‘I love you’s’ at Christmas and I hit the road awhile/ and I made a little money, but money can’t buy/ a little more time.” Time is a non-renewable resource with our loved ones, its one that is constantly edging us closer to grief, and no matter how much wealth we have, it will never be enough.
It’s easy to feel cold and jaded about life, to understand the inevitable pain we all must suffer when a loved one dies, but on “Never Know Why” Cothran reminds me to experience life as it comes: “Its a long way to the meaning of a life/ I know we’ll get there together on the other side /of all this pain we feel, and never know why”. “My First Love Mends My Final Days” is an album that has taken me on a beautiful journey of self-reflection and reminds me although life can seem short, I’m still so lucky to have the ability to experience love and connection with others.