Matt Miller‘s Sticking is a periscopic ramble down memory lane via a playlist of songs that, like a needle on a record, stick in our memory for whatever reason.
The piece teeters between first times, last times and almost times but calling it a coming of age story would be an unfitting cliché. It feels much more akin to a homecoming, of finding oneself through experiences; of university, of friendships and fallouts, of new cultures and discoveries.
Sticking alternates between restless, rowdy rebellion and tender, genuine emotion through an accessible script that often lifts us up into a poetic remembering. It feels like an everyday conversation that allows itself to get romantic, filtered by nostalgia and regret. The influence of passing time on these memories is important, and there’s a pervading sense of arrival into the present.
Miller captures the essence of two songs in particular, by Bon Iver and Regina Spektor, and narrates a sweet and engaging set of tales over their melodies. As the piece builds, however, there’s one or two moments when the songs weren’t so effective. As early J-Lo blares some anthem we all remember from dancefloors, I was disappointed not to have a full dragged-up lip-sync at what felt like the best time to up the ante into an energetic culmination of all the things happening thus far. It felt like a sense of bric-a-brac harmony was starting to form, and it passed uncommented on.
It’s clear Miller knows how to tell a story, but I also wanted to understand this idea of ‘sticking’ a bit more. There’s a short offer of explanation at the start but I wanted some return or unpacking of it, as a focal point I think this piece would benefit from the arch under which hangs the rest of the story being more present.
All in all, I found myself captivated and felt I could understand and relate to what was being said – this unsure person experiencing a whole underside to his life, which he then examines through his own undoing.