The Hotelier’s Upcoming Goodness

Spring 2016, Uncategorized

by Tom Matthews

The Hotelier, taken by Kylie Shaffer

The Hotelier, taken by Kylie Shaffer




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Think back to the moment you first experienced love. Can you remember what it was? A hug? A kiss? A formation of friendship? The feeling of a parent’s protection?

These memories are often from a young age. We recall these memories fondly at a time before our existence in the world changed—before there were expectations of us.

Years later, love can feel devoid from our lives. Over time there has been growth and learning. And sometimes this growth and learning has forced us out of love.

How do you get back to that love?

The Hotelier is working that out, and is doing so on Goodness, the band’s upcoming album set for release this May.

The album features thirteen tracks, with some almost lasting seven minutes long. But every second feels precisely accounted for—time is a very important part of this album and even remains a theme throughout its entirety.

For it is the harnessing of time that gives way to the freedom to love.

Time is constantly pulling us away from experiencing love—work and useless time-consuming stimulation demand our attention and distract us from connecting with those in our present—it is only through our own efforts that we can cease the reign of time in our lives in order for us to truly experience love and the goodness of the world.

In “Opening Mail For My Grandmother,” lead singer and bassist Christian Holden cherishes time left with a loved one that is slowly fading, singing, “I’m coming for you. Your beautiful brightness, perpetually new. So old in your body, the youth’s in your mood. They’re keeping your space there they’re dying for you. We’ll sing your good graces when they come for you but until that day’s here I’m coming for you.”

Holden’s detail rich lyrics reveal a perspicacity for recognizing moments where love is fleeting.

On “Soft Animal” he sings to a fawn doe minutes before it is hunted down, “Make me feel alive. Make me believe that I don’t have to die. Fawn, doe, light snow. Spots on brown of white make me believe that there’s a God sometimes.” In this captivating chorus we hear Holden searching for the capacity to live freely—a desire sparked by a young wild animal.

A life lived freely is often glamorized as some grand transcendent experience, but the reality is much less sumptuous. Instead, it is the ability to know what is truly good for oneself, and the ability to make independent decisions that are pertinent to this well-being. And sometimes this involves making decisions that are not easy. Decisions where someone will be hurt. Love demands transparent wholeness.

Holden laments “If it’s you undone, then I can’t sit with you. And it’s you undone and I can’t sit in your sun,” on “Sun”—an explosive theatrical display of the band’s tight musicianship.

A life lived freely requires rationalizing what you want from what is best for you.

“In this young night’s sky there are pinhole lights. Find the shape of a harp and an arrowhead. Do I hear your tunes or acknowledge wounds that I got from rubbing elbows with a sharpened edge? But if I choose this too does it count as my move? I can’t drop my history just to become new. Now I’m swimming through the nothingness and the absolute, but I couldn’t ask this of you,” sings Holden on “Two Deliverances.”

People live their lives in search of meaning. We collectively agree on one’s meaning and significance based upon their accomplishments. And because of this irrational measurement certain people rise up, while others fall to the wayside and are forgotten, barely making a ripple in the current of time. But at the end of the day we all sleep under the same moon, and rise under the same sun. And as Holden points out on “Goodness pt. 2”, “Withered down to our basic components we are naked, at rest, and alone.”

Goodness is a carefully constructed, thought-provoking album. An album that forced me to think about my literal action of listening to it. Why do I consume art? To feel. To gain a clearer conception of the world around me. I feel I have gained one after listening to Goodness. And while I don’t think all art must exist to intellectually stimulate, I find it to be the art I return to. And Goodness will be an album I return to for years.

So, the next time you are wondering where the goodness is in the world, look around you. It’s everywhere. It’s in the moon. It’s in the sun. It’s in the people around you. And just like the old lullaby goes:

“I see the moon, the moon sees me

shining through the leaves of the old oak tree

Oh, let the light that shines on me

shine on the one I love.” 

Watch the NSFW Goodness album trailer below:


Pre-order Goodness from Tiny Engines here

Contributing Editor Tom Matthews is a Senior at Clark University where he majors in English, specializing in Creative Writing and Journalism. Visit his website at

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