Album: Yourself or Someone Like You
Artist: Matchbox 20
1. Real World
2. Long Day
3. 3 A.M.
5. Girl Like That
6. Back 2 Good
This album was released on my sixteenth birthday. I was in an abusive relationship when that person bought me this album. Push resonated with me more than any song ever had before. It still means a lot to me, as does this album, as it helped me through the hardest time in my life. In addition to Push, Argue also resonated with me. “We get along so we shouldn’t argue,” rolled through my head a lot.
There is so much genuine anger pulsating through these songs. It’s obvious that Rob Thomas was in a dark place while recording this. Long Day and 3 A.M. struck a chord with my teenage angst. He wrote 3 A.M. as a teenager as a coping mechanism while his mother was struggling with cancer. Girl Like That is repetitive but continues the emotional impact from Push quite nicely.
I’m not a huge fan of the singles Real World or Back 2 Good. Damn is pretty banal, and Busted is really painful to listen to. All reasons the album falls out of my top ten despite what it means to me.
Kody, Shame, and Hang are all considerably more low key, but also considerably depressing. I think Thomas blew his wad with this album. While his music skills improved as he went along, his writing became more pop-friendly and less inspired. But I have little doubt that Yourself or Someone Like You will still resonate with me in thirty years.
Album: Mad Season
Artist: Matchbox Twenty
2. Black & White People
4. Last Beautiful Girl
5. If You’re Gone
6. Mad Season
7. Rest Stop
8. The Burn
10. Bed of Lies
13. You Won’t Be Mine
I was very excited when this album came out and I came away feeling it was the best album I’d ever listened to. Mad Season is definitely more polished than the band’s first album, but as the years have gone by it has lost something. I think part of it lies in the first song, where Rob Thomas sings about how he’s not angry anymore. It’s autobiographical, as around this time Rob got engaged and a lot of the bitterness and cynicism kind of melted away. I’m happy for him, really, but while Mad Season still contains some passion, it is mostly missing the rawness that turned me on to them initially.
Rest Stop still contains that mood, but the chorus is repeated about eighty-four times, ruining the mood by the end. Stop is as angry as anything you’ll hear from Matchbox Twenty, but it’s one of the weaker songs lyrically. The songs that are great musically aren’t all that emotionally resonating. Still, the music is good enough that I still enjoy listening to the album. There are no songs I dislike, and it ends on a pretty solid note with You Won’t Be Mine, a haunting tune featuring Thomas on the piano. Other favorites are Last Beautiful Girl, Black & White People, Mad Season and Bent.
I have liked virtually nothing Thomas has put out since this album. I felt More Than You Think You Are was wretched outside of the mediocre singles. And every single since has done nothing for me. His songs, initially inspired, have become incredibly generic and flat.