Saturday, February 9, 2008

Going gaga over Matchbox Twenty

So I bought their new CD, Exile on Mainstream, and decided to visit their site. It was bustling with activity! There's News about the band's interviews, guestings and tour schedule; Links to the bands MySpace and YouTube channel; the Forum is brimming with fan's postings; the Store is packed with MB20 merchandise and the Bio is updated with the band's story of how they were able regroup and come up with their latest album.

Man, I'm so glad they started making music again. Even though they're one band member less (Adam Gaynor left the band in 2005), they're still the same MB20 that I love. Listening to their Exile album however, I noticed that their music has evolved and the following excerpts from their site's Bio section could explain why:

The new songs represent a major shift for the band: on MATCHBOX TWENTY’s past three albums, Thomas wrote the lion’s share of the material, with the other group members usually adding their parts later. This time, drummer-turned-guitarist Doucette, guitarist Kyle Cook, and bassist Brian Yale were included from the start.

“I don’t think we could have gone on if we didn’t change the dynamic of the band,” Doucette says. “MATCHBOX TWENTY was a little bit Rob and his overly outspoken background band. Now it’s Rob, Kyle, Paul, and Brian. I’d become a writer over the years; Kyle had become a writer. It started to become an issue while making the last record. It got to a point where it was like, well, if we’re going to be a band, this needs to really be a band.”


“We’d worked with different people, we’d really developed our own sounds, and they’re very different from each other,” Doucette says. “We just felt like we each have that separate space to get ourselves out, so why don’t we make Matchbox something where we all have an equal say.”


Just as the other band members felt they needed to add their voices, Thomas found it liberating to draw a distinction between his solo career and MATCHBOX TWENTY. “The stuff I’m writing for my solo records is about me and my own experiences,” he says. “We’re all older now and it doesn’t make sense any more for the guys in Matchbox to spend their lives trying to play my life.”


The first single, “How Far We’ve Come,” merges apocalyptic lyrics and frenetic, building rhythms. Doomsday has never sounded so good. “There’s no reason it can’t be sexy,” laughs Thomas about the end of the world.

The other new tracks — including the darkly humorous “I’ll Believe You When,” the driving “All Your Reasons,” the R&B-leaning “I Can’t Let You Go,” the jangly “If I Fall,” and the heartbreaking ballad “These Hard Times” — share a lyrical leanness that allows them to cut quickly through the sonic atmosphere. One trait that remains? MATCHBOX’s fairly pessimistic view of life. “Not happy, not happy,” jokes Doucette when he reviews the lyrics. “But that’s always been this band. We’ve always done more uplifting melodies with really downer lyrics.”

I also found this on their site:

Now is this cool or what? But if I get that, I also have to get this. And the problem with ordering online is that shipping would cost more, if not the same, than the items being purchased. Sometimes, online stores don't even ship to my country. Oh well, maybe I should just sign up for membership in their fan club. After all, Matchbox Twenty is here to stay.

“I still hear ‘3am’ on the radio at an alarming rate,” says Thomas. And that suits him and his band mates just fine. “Listen, my goal in life is to be this weathered guy who everybody’s like, ‘Oh, I grew up listening to you.’ I think that’s the coolest thing in the world.”

So, unexpectedly but happily for everyone, the members of MATCHBOX TWENTY are now focused on their future together. The band is looking forward to its first tour in four years, along with the prospect of a full album of all-new material down the line.

“We’re all excited. It’s a good place to be,” Thomas says. “We feel more like a band than we’ve ever felt.”

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