Singer/Songwriter Paul Hatem Releases New Album
Singer/Songwriter Paul Hatem’s heartwarming new album When I Get Old is the evocative trip down memory lane you didn’t know you needed. Hatem truly has a way with words and conjuring feelings of nostalgia. The New Englander has been writing songs for most of his adult life and has been performing for small audiences here and there. When I Get Old celebrates the traditions of folk while maintaining Hatem’s personal touches and musical influences. Hatem has a way of gently reaching into your memories and reuniting you with your youth. His songs are microcosms of his past, often told like stories that you hope have no end. Breezy melodies accompany rich words and textures, creating an album you want to throw on and be engulfed in.
Immediately I’m overcome with waves of relaxation as I’m listening to opening track “Simon.” It perfectly captures the complex feelings older siblings go through when a new sibling arrives in a household. Through an honest portrayal of how children feel and think in that situation, Hatem hooks you instantly. This realism is a common theme throughout When I Get Old that makes it so compelling to listen to. Its a refreshing change from music that hides behind overpowering melodies and relies on metaphors to convey its feelings. Hatem is able to make the personal feel universal. There’s a very tangible quality to When I Get Old that makes every song hit even harder. Hatem’s honesty allows him to cover multiple subjects and topics in his music from his perspective. While most of the album does touch on the passing of time Hatem also focuses on heartbreak and life after death.
There’s a feeling of warmth that permeates every song on When I Get Old- even the tracks about heartbreak. “I Think of You” and “About You” beautifully address how long it can take to heal from a break-up. “I Think of You” has a myriad of backing instruments that give this track an old school feeling. Hatem keeps his voice soft letting the instruments amplify his delicate lyrics, reminding me of a Simon and Garfunkel song. “About You” leans into the quiet strumming of a guitar before it dips its toe into a puddle of country. I would say “About You” is the most interestingly crafted song on the album because its use of guitar distortion and the quiet twang in Hatem’s voice. The result is a slightly haunting melody that makes Hatem’s lyrics feel three dimensional. “I Think of You” and “About You” get you feeling deeply without plunging you into a state of sadness. That’s a fine line to walk but Hatem does it effortlessly.
Hatem has the ability to capture the essence of a moment, “Hot Summer Nights” feels like how Summer’s used to feel when you were a kid. Hatem’s inspiration for the song is wishing you could go back to your childhood home. “Oh, take me back to the summer night/To lie in the grass in the quiet moonlight,” this lyric highlights what Hatem does with ease, he takes you somewhere. As I listened to “Hot Summer Nights” memories of my own life danced in front of my eyes. I found myself remembering how loose time was during the Summer’s, how I’d get bored if I did the same thing every day. The way that Hatem phrases things made me think of feelings I had never been able to put into words. The more personal Hatem’s lyrics get, the more it causes your own memories to stir and emerge, almost like he’s calling to them. Hatem’s songwriting cuts to the core of the each song and touches your own life in the way that only music can.
When I Get Old is going to be an essential album on your summer playlist. Every song is a relaxed and dreamy tale that aims for your heart. It’s the perfect music to kickback to, to drive to, or to listen to on your own. Paul Hatem has such a bright future ahead of him, I am so excited to see what other songs he has up his sleeves and where he’ll take his sound. His unique artistry oozes out of every song allowing each sentiment to stick to you.