After 3 multi platinum smash albums with his band Matchbox Twenty, Rob Thomas went into the studio on his own for this 2005 release. Although the pressure for success must have been immense given his track record, Thomas didn’t disappoint. It is a record packed with his trademark hooks and catchy chorus is that seem to be impossible to get out of your head once they find their way in. This is a man who has made his mark as a pop rock songwriting master and on Something To Be that’s exactly what he delivers. His stamp is so heavily pressed into the Matchbox sound that if you did not know any better you would be unaware that this was a solo effort and not one of the band’s. “This Is How A Heart Breaks” is almost a synopsis of how to write a pop rock song. Pounding beats, annoyingly catchy lyrics, lead guitar licks,screeching vocals. It kicks off the album with the message that, yes, this shits gonna be good. Great Song. There is no let down when track 2 comes. “Lonely No More” is an insta-hit with a Latin beat and maybe the best song on the record. Rob slows it down for the 3rd tune “Ever The Same”, a MB20 style ballad in that it’s a love song with a quicker tempo than a standard ballad. The 6th track is the album’s title track “Something To Be”. This is probably the hardest track on the disc and the closest to being an actual rock cut. Rob manages an “I don’t give a shit” attitude in the vocal while maintaining the song’s pop sensibilities. I believe much of this song is Rob addressing some inner doubts on whether he can pull off a solo record that can achieve the same level of success that he had with MB20. He pulls it off and “Something To Be”, although not a single, is one the records strongest tracks. The second half of the album wanes a little bit but is bolstered by the cleverly worded “Problem Girl” which has that Rob Thomas “gets in your head and can’t get out quality” to it. But it closes out with a bang. First with a fun collaboration with John Mayer on a song that should have been a much bigger hit “Streetcorner Symphony”.With 2 of the best pop songwriters working on the same tune could it be anything less than great? The biggest and most pleasant surprise on this offering is the beautiful piano ballad that closes out the disc. “Now Comes The Night” is a huge departure for Rob Thomas and I’m sure a song that must have been risky for him to include. He pulls this song off in gold medal fashion and shows his chops as a piano troubadour. It is a wonderful way to bring this set of songs to a conclusion.
other Matchbox Twenty on this blog: