We all remember the good old days when Matchbox Twenty meant classic ’90s post-grunge complete with throaty lyrics and long, stressed vowels. But let’s face it — it’s not the ’90s anymore. When we heard Matchbox Twenty are making another go of it after a second hiatus in 2007, and who could forget Rob Thomas’ attempt at a solo career? Nostalgia for the songs we still know and love by heart meant that we had to give this record a chance. Can they take what we remember and love from the days of “Push” and “Real World” and make it work this time in a contemporary setting?
If you’re looking for the unique voice of Mr. Rob Thomas, you’ll find it. His vocals seem to be trapped inside a time capsule locked in 1997, and we can’t get enough of that. Songs like “Parade” and “Sleeping at the Wheel,” with an indie kick drum and instrumentals comparable to Parachute and The Fray satisfy our craving for a contemporary serenade. And who could hate an acoustic ballad like “I Will,” the perfect balance of ’90s bliss meets folk-rock guitar riffs? Having said that, the perfect balance is thrown off by the out of place pop-rock songs peppered throughout the album like their single “She’s So Mean” and “Put Your Hands Up” which sounds just like a Maroon 5 song they passed up on their own new album. There doesn’t seem to be a musical center or theme to this record.
If you miss the days of “I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell,” as much as we do you’ll still get your fix here, along with some great indie influence and contemporary sound — you might just have to skip a few of the tracks.