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Something to Be (Deluxe Version)

Rob Thomas

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Album Review

Since Matchbox Twenty is a faceless group, recognizable for its hits rather than its image, it's easy to assume that the band is nothing more than a solo project in disguise for its frontman, lead singer and chief songwriter Rob Thomas (who should not be confused with Rob Thomas, the creator of UPN's 2005 cult TV series Veronica Mars). Not only is he prominent in the band's videos and press, but he scored the biggest hit of his career with "Smooth," a song he penned and sung for Santana's 1999 comeback, Supernatural. Even though Matchbox Twenty's 1996 debut, Yourself or Someone Like You, was a big hit and spawned four radio hits, "Smooth" was bigger than any of them, making Thomas famous, if not exactly a star. Instead of striking out for a solo career in 2000, he returned to his band, releasing Mad Season that year and More Than You Think You Are two years later. While both records had different moods — the former was polished and radio-ready, the latter hit a little harder — both found Thomas working as part of a unit, not as a flashy frontman. This may have illustrated how Matchbox Twenty worked as a band; in particular, More Than You Think You Are sounded like the work of a driven, cohesive unit, even the songs weren't quite up to snuff — but they also had to sound a little workmanlike, and certainly not the product of the savvy cross-cultural crossover creator of "Smooth." Given the relatively lackluster reception of More Than You Think You Are, the timing was right for Thomas to launch his official solo career in the spring of 2005. It was time to give his music a new coat of paint, similar to how "Smooth" spun his career in a different direction, and that's exactly what his solo debut, Something to Be, is: a slick new variation on Thomas' signature sound.

With its anthemic choruses and achingly sincere sentiments, Something to Be is clearly the work of the lead singer/songwriter of Matchbox Twenty, yet it lacks the lean rock-oriented sound of the group's albums, even if it is helmed by Matt Serletic, who has produced all three of the band's records. Serletic and Thomas have made a conscious attempt to have this solo album feel lighter, brighter, and a little hipper than Matchbox Twenty's music, adding slight drum loops and electronic elements to the rhythms while taking Thomas away from strictly guitar-based arrangements. Heavy on keyboards, elastic guitars, horns, insistent rhythms, and even the occasional gospel-inspired backing chorus or worldbeat inflection, this is a far splashier affair than the average Matchbox Twenty album, and that alone would make Something to Be a noteworthy solo record, since it is indeed a different beast than Thomas' regular gig, but the fresher sound is married to a strong set of songs that play to his strengths as a craftsman of big, anthemic post-alternative mainstream rock. This isn't edgy work by any means — and for as hooky and chorus-driven as it is, it's music that becomes memorable through repeated plays, never quite catching hold upon the first listen — but it's more colorful and well-constructed than a lot of contemporary mainstream rock in the mid-2000s, and it's arguably more appealing than Matchbox Twenty's earnest guitar rock, which can occasionally seem rather drab. With Something to Be, Thomas delivers an album that is at once familiar and fresh. It may not be something to win over the doubters, but it's enough to give him a promising new beginning to the second decade of his recording career, not unlike how "Smooth" helped propel him through the post-grunge fallout of the new millennium. [Melisma's 2005 Australian edition includes an additional bonus CD of remixes and extra tracks.]

Customer Reviews

Awesome Remix

I already own and love the original album and only purchased the two new songs and remixes. As usual, it's good stuff. But the remix for "This Is How A Heart Breaks" is freaking incredible!!! To take the tempo of such a fast and driven song and slow it down and still have it sound just as driven and intense is genius. If you're a MB20 or Rob Thomas fan, this particular song is one to add to your favorites list.

awesome!

Could you expect anything less from Rob Thomas? he's been writting amazing lyrics for Matchbox for many years. He's super talented and this doesn't stray from his personal musical style.

Something To Be (Deluxe Version)

i think it will be good

Biography

Born: February 14, 1972 in Landstuhl, Germany

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

As the lead singer and principal songwriter for Matchbox Twenty, Rob Thomas found success with a blend of '70s rock influences, slick hooks, and 1990s post-grunge crunch. The Florida-based band broke through in 1996 with "Push" and never looked back, issuing single after single, scoring hits in various radio formats, and watching their debut LP, Yourself or Someone Like You, go platinum 12 times over in the U.S. Thomas himself won numerous songwriting awards as the scribe...
Full Bio
Something to Be (Deluxe Version), Rob Thomas
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