Tahlia Matheson lives in Byron Bay/Arakwal country and has cut her songwriting teeth in Nashville and London, and her performing teeth at the Gympie Muster and Bluesfest, among other festivals. In 2018 she released the EP Wait and See and earlier this year the singles ‘No Thanks I’m Fine’ and ‘Bad Habits’. Her latest single is ‘Only Got Tonight’ and it features Chev Wilson, a singer-songwriter from south-east Queensland whose debut single, ‘H.O.M.E.’, is out now.
You know that saying about something being greater than the sum of its parts? In this case, the parts are clearly very good but there is an alchemy on ‘Only Got Tonight’ which seems to take Matheson’s and Wilson’s vocals and honour them separately even as it melds them into almost a third sound that is the essence of the track. And despite what’s implicit in the title of the song – that it’s not so much a love song as a lust song – there is clearly depth of feeling and performance that give the song a gravitas that other ‘lust songs’ may not attain.
So often songs that are meant to sound sexy do not. They can sound a bit sleazy or a bit bawdy, or too raunchy, or there’s clearly a power imbalance in the vocals or the singers themselves, one more well known than the other, that makes the song offputting. Or, even worse, such songs can actually be boring. ‘Only Got Tonight’ is that rare song that sounds genuinely sexy and it’s because the performers sound loose – relaxed, unhurried, unworried – while at the same time being really present. Their presence in the song and within the song – their attention to what they’re doing – brings us with them into the moment. And it’s then, as we’re with them, that we realise it is a love song after all. Which is what makes it truly sexy.