Review - Matchbox 20 - North
Pop rock outfit Matchbox 20 are back from their time off and are ready to get back down to what made them who they are today: making some of the best pop rock out there.
The band took a break for a number of years so front man Rob Thomas could pursue his solo endeavors. Things worked out pretty well for Thomas, but he didn’t leave the band. Instead, after putting out two solo records (with a break in between <i>that</i> for the band to release a greatest hits CD with seven new songs, including their hit “How Far We’ve Come”), he came back to the band where he started and work began on what would become ‘North’.
That collection is not one of Matchbox’s strongest albums, but it is their style and sound through and through. Every song is well (if not a bit safely) composed, and Thomas’ songwriting is never off. Do the songs on the album blend a bit as the album plays on? Sure, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t still good and pleasant to listen to. Give me an album where some of the songs sound a tad similar over anything bad any day.
Sadly, there aren’t any big smash singles on the CD. Lead single “She’s So Mean” is catchy and rocky, featuring a crazy nasty girl who will rule your world and plenty of guitar. Many of the songs on the album follow a similar sound, but the band does shake things up (if only subtly) with a tad bit of synthesizer on “Put Your Hands Up”, a song that makes you dance (but thankfully isn’t actually dance).
Altogether, I liked the CD. I always like what they do, and I’m a big Rob Thomas fan. If I had criticism, I would say that the group perhaps could have taken a few more risks. Also, while listening to the album, you sometimes forget that this is a Matchbox 20 album and not a Rob Thomas album. Having other band members take turns on vocals was a good turn, but I’d like to see more distinction between Matchbox and Thomas.
Listen to: “Parade”, “She’s So Mean”, “Overjoyed”, “Put Your Hands Up”, and “English Town”