Matchbox Twenty Keeps Musical Flame Going With Fresh Sounds
By by EUNICE KOO, Contributing Writer
Matchbox Twenty, who will play the University of Massachusetts' Mullins Center this Friday, adopt a new musical style in their sophomore album, "Mad Season." The guitars, especially the bass, dominate the overall sound of most of the 13 tracks. Compared to their debut album, "Yourself Or Someone Like You," the new album is more insistent in its lyrics and sound. The songs are softer, slightly slower and just as meaningful. The lyrics focus on relationship woes.

A few songs, like "If You're Gone" and "The Burn," are very mellow, with less emphasis on drums. As a general rule, songs from "Mad Season" belong in two categories-quasi-alternative and melodramatic.

The group's efforts to produce an album with more variety are evident. In "Black & White People," Matchbox Twenty explores music that is enhanced with trumpets, making it rather jazzy. The group's current hit single, "Bent," has the perfect blend of vocals, and although it sounds somewhat similar to a few songs from the first album, it still can be characterized as a creative venture. The lyrics are gorgeous-both abstract and direct.

"Mad Season" is not a perfect album. In the title track, even Rob Thomas' unique and amazing voice cannot rescue the tune from its sappy undertones. It is the stereotypical song about a lover's pain. Generic lyrics such as "I feel stupid but I think I been catchin' on / I feel ugly but I know I still turn you on" highlight the failures of the song. The track dares you to punch the fast forward button.

"Mad Season" admittedly doesn't have the same kind of quality songs as those from the first album, such as "Real World" and "Push." Instead of going the safe, boring route by playing songs that are replicas of those from the freshman album, the group successfully discovers new realms of the alternative music world. But many of the songs retain a uniquely Matchbox Twenty-appeal, and the variety of songs makes the album worth buying.

The aesthetically pleasing packaging is another perk. The CD comes in a small, hardcover book format, which contains lyrics and pictures with the CD attached to the back cover.

If you decide to purchase "Mad Season," don't expect the same brand of music featured on the first album. In its quest for originality, Matchbox Twenty has created a different yet equally wonderful set of songs.

Issue 03, Submitted 2000-09-18 16:48:21