Come Along for the Drive with Charlie & Margot’s Debut Album ‘joyride’

With Americana, alternative, indie, and more sounds throughout the album, Charlie & Margot doesn’t fail to disappoint with a comfortingly catchy style. 

Charlie & Margot released the 8-track debut album joyride on April 7th. Having released “lonely” and “sleeping” prior to the rest of the album, those two tracks had fans hooked and anxiously awaiting the rest. 

Charlie & Margot is a musical project by Matteo DeBenedetti, named after Matteo and his wife’s two dogs. Adorable. Matteo is matched with the talents of longtime friend and collaborator Erik Kase Romero, who has worked with artists ranging from the Front Bottoms to Lorde to The Bouncing Souls. 

The New Jersey native has been writing songs since childhood and working with various bands until 2019 when he began Charlie & Margot solo.  

“dream” is a song that has listeners thinking about yearning. With a beautiful guitar and beat in the back, Matteo sings about taking one’s time, reflecting about falling apart and feeling confused, but ultimately ends the song saying he’s willing to bleed for someone — even if they look like something from a dream that soon fades away. His devastatingly simple lyrics about these fleeting moments of loss tug at the heartstrings of anyone who has experienced love and loss. 

Appropriately named, “ghost” tells the story of lights, locks, and windows moving in the presence of a ghost. The ghost seems to be a manifestation of a love that cannot be:

I won the lottery, when you wound up next to me 

Now I’m never going to see what could’ve been if I wasn’t weak

~ “ghost”

Though Matteo hopes his lover will find someone new rather than dwelling on what they had, Charlie & Margot as the ghost pines for that lost love. These spiritual lyrics are the sweetest type of sad song to make you cry. The song “ghost” softly strums to an end, but the feeling of longing remains heavy in the air as the next track begins. 

The melodic introduction of “joyride” shifts the style of the album thus far to something new. The song picks up its pace halfway through, building up to share the sentiment that “I know we’ll get to the place we were back then, before we were watching our lives instead of living them” and singing about losing track of time. Charlie & Margot’s ability for quality musicality paired with poetic language keeps listeners tuned into the album through the midway mark, similarly losing track of time in the beautiful song. 

“lonely” amps up the album with its faster pace. Its accompanying music video features a running dog, a bike headed toward the camera, and cars zooming — exciting elements to watch unfold. As Matteo looks directly into the lens, the song feels all the more personal. 

“lonely” is written about self evaluation during a time of intense isolation, in this instance, during the quarantine and subsequent months. It has a lot to do with managing my insecurities, and creating a healthy perception of how I see myself vs how others see me in the world, and managing expectations between life partners while growing to try to understand each other.

~ Matteo DeBenedetti

For a country having experienced the COVID-19 pandemic, the theme of learning and undergoing personal growth through alone time can be heavily relatable to many. The line, “in the time in between — that’s where you’ll find the things you need” offers a morsel of comfort amid uncertainty, encouraging and comforting the audience that everything just might be okay eventually, even when they’re lonely every day. 

With “places,” Charlie & Margot describes the almost tangible feeling of being alone and wanting to run, hide, or stay away from home and struggling to find the silver lining. It calls up the near-universal experience of feeling lost or aimless in the world: “a feeling I can’t shake.” 

Charlie & Margot slows down on “runaround,” vulnerably admitting emotional struggles and reaching out to listeners confronting the darkest of times. 

It’s like watching a train from a few miles away. 

Instead of leaving the tracks, 

You just quietly lay.

~ “runaround”

And on “SkipTown,” the singer repeatedly sings “what goes up must come down” and that the “light has been flickering out,” again pointing to the highs and lows that come with being human. 

In one of the earlier released songs “sleeping,” Matteo croons about wondering why it feels like someone cuts right through them like a knife. Many can say they’ve been hurt by someone they care about, and as Charlie & Margot sings, it takes time to be able to trust someone again after irreparable damage like that: “One day you’ll learn your love will never be enough.” 

‘sleeping’ is written about facing up to the idea that sometimes putting your trust in other people can ultimately end up being a bad thing for you, and sometimes it’s best to take matters into your own hands. In this instance, it’s very specifically regarding being a musician, being involved with other people as a touring musician (as a grown adult) at a DIY level, and navigating all the nuances that come with that. 

~ Matteo DeBenedetti

Charlie & Margot is for the wandering and the yearning — for those seeking connection through music to console them through the ups and downs of this mysterious life. Matteo’s brilliant lyricism evokes a sense of urgency, making us eager for what’s next from the solo musician. You can stay tuned for updates from Charlie & Margot on Twitter and Instagram

karapeeler Author
Hello! I’m a journalist at Northwestern University, and I love writing about all things arts & entertainment. Keep up with my work on Twitter @karapeeler.
karapeeler Author
Hello! I’m a journalist at Northwestern University, and I love writing about all things arts & entertainment. Keep up with my work on Twitter @karapeeler.

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