Sometimes you don’t like a song until someone else really does. They show you the way inside some aspect of music you might have missed otherwise.
One of my friend Matt’s favorite bands was Our Lady Peace. We had divergent music tastes. I DJ’d on the online station where he co-hosted a music and comedy podcast. He interviewed musicians and was excited to chat with Raine Maida, OLP’s lead singer. Tuning in, I could hear Matt’s genuine respect for the artist.
I did episodes where DJ/radio peers, friends, family and other listeners chose songs. Matt’s selection was “Paper Moon” by OLP. I assumed I wouldn’t like it. Besides “Starseed,” their songs seemed derivative and the singer’s voice overpowered the music. Surprisingly, I took a liking to “Paper Moon.” The song is thoughtful, the vocals aren’t overwhelming and I could relate to the lyrics.
Matt was one of my radio mentors between 2011–2013. We had easy conversation, shared jokes. He was sarcastic, music-knowledgeable, loved radio, had unstoppable wit and adored his family. He sold me on that song!
He also had a recurrence of cancer after beating the crap out of it in his youth. In what seemed like no time, he passed away at 41 in 2013. He died on April 1st; pretty clever if you knew Matt’s humor.
Matt’s wife shared a video he once made in California traffic. He sang along to “Paper Moon” and made the best of a frustrating situation by enjoying the moment with this treasured song. This was Matt: a person with spirit even when facing difficulty.
I embrace this song with wonder now. Matt left this life before I could meet him in person. I became acquainted with his friends and family through live shows and social media.
There aren’t enough words to highlight the best people and moments of our lifetime. This is why music’s vital: “Paper Moon” says even more about Matt than I could express.
(Matt Cooper’s heartwarming obituary says more about his dynamic life, too!)
(Song recommendation by k weber)