P.F. Sloan

My Beethoven

by John Paul

1 August 2014

cover art

P.F. Sloan

My Beethoven

(Ms. Music Productions)
US: 7 May 2014
UK: Import

Ostensibly a first-person narrative delivered by the titular composer, here refracted through P.F. Sloan’s somewhat liberal reading of the composer’s life and times, My Beethoven often comes across as a bit conceptually arch, but achingly beautiful in its classic arrangements. Having apparently found a frustrated kindred spirit in Beethoven, Sloan here co-opts several of the famed composer’s more well known melodies (“Joy to the Ninth”, most directly) applying his own lyrical stamp and utilizing the classical motifs as building blocks for his more pop-leaning vocal melodies.

Wildly ambitious in its musical scope, My Beethoven’s lyrics are ripe with artistic frustration and general disillusionment with a lack of critical and popular recognition. Working from piano-based arrangements with the occasional strings, horns and multi-tracked vocals, Sloan explores his inner demons and frustrations through his newfound muse, creating an album at once cathartic and playing like the autobiography of an eternally frustrated artist seemingly always on the outside looking in.

Lyrically dense, My Beethoven can be a bit off-putting in its often insular, jaded tone, but, once parsed out, can be highly rewarding. When taken in tandem with the gorgeously intricate arrangements, some of the more questionable lyrical moments and extended passages of self-pity can be forgiven. Regardless of the album’s somewhat morose origins and lyrical content throughout, it’s an interesting, at times grandiose experiment from one of the great, unheralded pop composers of the 1960s.

My Beethoven



We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.


//Mixed media

20 Questions: Nashville Singer-Songwriter Natalie Hemby

// Sound Affects

"Natalie Hemby's Puxico is a standout debut from a songwriter who has been behind the scenes for over a decade.

READ the article