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Music Review Tuesday – Matchbox Twenty

18 Feb

Much like the song title to their new single “How Far We’ve Come”, Matchbox Twenty has been through it’s share of changes and highs and lows. From the release of it’s debut album that sold more than 12 million copies in the U.S. alone to losing friendships and band mates to creative differences. The band has been resilient over the 12 years they have been recording. They have amassed many dedicated fans and wooed many musical critics with their musical diversity. Only the band members themselves know if the band will continue. Two of it’s original members Rob Thomas and Paul Doucette are basically responsible for the making of the first CD and six new original songs on the two CD release that I am reviewing today. Thomas and Doucette got together in New York to iron out how to fix their friendship and not so much worry about the band. About this same time their record label Atlantic Records asked for a greatest hits record. The combination of the friendship reunion and the greatest hits birthed the newest album from Matchbox Twenty.

Exile On Mainstream” is the name of their new album. It was released on October 7th, 2007. The album is a two CD set with CD one containing six new original songs and CD two containing 11 of their greatest hits. The six new songs kind of vacillate between rock and folk as you progress through them. The band has sort of reinvented themselves with this new release. The first song “How Far We’ve Come” has been getting quite a lot of air play on college and modern hit radio stations. It is definitely a recognizable Matchbox Twenty song. The lyrics to the song are quite reflective:

I think it turned ten o’clock but I don’t really know
And I can’t remember caring for an hour or so
Started crying and I couldn’t stop myself
I started running but there’s no where to run to
I sat down on the street took a look at myself
Said where you going man you know the world is headed for hell
Say your goodbyes if you’ve got someone you can say goodbye to

The second song is closer to a folk rock style of music and is called “I’ll Believe You When”. The song has the same familiar vocal melody with an abundance of clean guitar arpeggios. I would be willing to bet Fender Telecasters were the guitar of choice based on the sound. The next track “All Your Reasons” is a combination of the two styles prominent with MT songs over the years. I do like the doo wop vocal stylings in this song. The next original track is called “These Hard Times” and is about lost love and the times we go through bleeding our heart getting over that love that only “These Hard Times” can heal. I would like to mention here the three songs on the greatest hits CD of this release. They are by far my favorite MT songs. If you have not ever listened to this band I would recommend them as a good representation of their music. “3am” is the first song I had heard by this band. It was in 1998, Jeff a good friend of mine who I exchanged music with, brought in the album “Yourself or Someone Like You” and played “3am” for me. I was hooked from then. The next favorite greatest hit song is “Real World”. I fell in love with the verse in the song:

I wonder what it’s like to be a super hero
I wonder where I’d go if I could fly around downtown
From some other planet, I get this funky high on yellow
Sun
Boy I bet my friends will all be…stunned, they’re stunned

and the phrase:

I wish the real world would just stop hassling me

My next favorite greatest hit track is “Bright Lights”. The song was a moderately successful song. It tells the story of a girl who leaves her hometown to pursue some career of fame. Throughout the song the singer pleads for her to be encouraged that she can return home if things don’t work out in the “Bright Lights”. The chorus goes:

Baby, baby, baby when all your love is gone
Who will save me from all I’m up against out in this world
And maybe, maybe, maybe
You’ll find something thats enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don’t receive you
You should turn yourself around and come on home

The album has a good mix of different styles for the original tracks. I hope for the sake of good music these guys continue to make it. I think the selection of previously recorded tracks are an excellent choice. I would recommend the album to anyone. I give the album four out of five stars.

If you are interested, please check the video below for “How Far We’ve Come”.

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