A basic wisdom of the rock business says that cover albums only exist because unloved contracts with them are served "by the book" or because the musicians can't think of anything else. With "Unlearned", the case is quite different. First of all, the singing of the sensitive beard wearer has always been better than his own pieces. Secondly, not only the song selection is excellent, but also adventurous, so that the album, apart from Matthew's wonderfully sad singing, is characterized above all by the art of rearranging (often only piano, cello, decent guitar). And thirdly, Janis Ian's "Jesse" is one of the most beautiful songs of all time and Matthew's interpretation is hardly inferior to Joan Baez's 75s version. It's also amazing what he can still gain from the actually exhausted "Love Will Tear Us Apart" or even the Bee Gees schmaltz "To Love Somebody". It was clear years ago that the gag to stage Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" as a deeply sad ballad had already brought Travis. But that doesn't diminish the quality of this outstanding album.
Top track: Jesse