Matchbox Twenty is a guilty pleasure of mine. I caught them on this tour with Train opening up in a pop rock extravaganza, where both bands could handle an arena show with style.There is no secret to the MB20 formula, they are going to churn out bubble gum rock hits that you can’t help but sing along to. Rob Thomas is not Adam Duritz lyrically and the band does not carry the musicianship of, say, the Black Crowes. But that’s alright, we always need our Journey’s and Foreigner’s. After forming in 1995 in Orlando, they quickly put out their highly successful, multi-platinum debut Yourself or Someone Like You in 1996. So the pressure was on for the bands 2nd album to approach the success of their debut. While Mad Season falls short of “YOSLU”, it’s still a pretty darn good record. The first single released from the record was “Bent” which would go on to become a #1 hit. From the whining guitar chord intro to the disjointed bridge, the song has an edge and a sense of urgency to it. It’s just a great song and one of my favorite from MB20. The second single from the disc could not have been more diametrically opposite of Bent. “If You’re Gone” is a mainstream pop ballad. Although I will say that Rob threw in some lyrical twists to keep just a little to the left of center of your everyday love song (I think your mean..I think we should try, you think I’m weak, I think your wrong). It was also reach the Top 10, peaking at #5. The third single from the record was “Crutch”. A very odd choice, since this song is an obvious miss and is one of the weaker efforts on the album. It failed to crack the Billboard Hot 100. One of the better tunes on the offering “Mad Season” was the 4th single released. A fun and catchy sing-a-long (especially when mixed with Coke & Sublimes..). This songs shows such an originality with such an obtuse and unique musical approach. From the beginning (I feel stupid…) to the end, the lyrics are fun and contagious. Although this song only reached #48, it might have benefited more if it had followed If You’re Gone as the 3rd single and gotten a little push. Surprisingly the band released 5th & 6th singles from this disc (Angry & Last Beautiful Girl), both decent songs and both failing to chart. Maybe even more of a surprise than the band releasing 6 singles is that the song “Rest Stop” was not one of them. The song has soft rock hit written all over it and is one of the stronger cuts on the entire disc. “The Burn” is another song straight out of the MB20 mold, predictable but still good. Although it peaked at #3 on Billboard and moved over 4 million units, Mad Season was a little bit of a commercial and musical let down from the bands first LP.
other Matchbox Twenty on this blog: