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In Reverse

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Frequently Bought Together

In Reverse + 100% Fun + Blue Sky On Mars
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Product details

  • Audio CD (8 Nov 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Jive
  • ASIN: B000031WET
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,796 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Millennium Blues
2. If Time Permits
3. Beware My Love
4. Faith in You
5. Hide
6. Future Shock
7. Split Personality
8. I Should Never Have Let You Know
9. Trade Places
10. What Matters
11. Write Your Own Song
12. Worse To Live
13. Untitled
14. Thunderstorm

Product Description


To mix metaphors, for most of the 1990s Matthew Sweet didn't so much march to his own drummer as swim determinedly against many of the prevailing rough currents in rock music. For Sweet, the melodic sensibilities, adventurous arrangements and production values of 60s and 70s' pop have remained long-lost Holy Grails to be passionately sought. Closing out what he's termed rock's "dry decade" (for its production values, if not content), In Reversehearkens back to Phil Spector's wall of sound and Brian Wilson's mid-60s studio prime with a vengeance. (The great bassist of choice during those epochal recordings, Carol Kaye, is a key player here.) Epic in scope and harmonically intoxicating (if occasionally overwrought), this is an album by an artist measuring the distance between his reach and his grasp, his good sense and self-indulgence, his confidence growing with every back-to-the future track. --Jerry McCulley

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By joebrody on 13 Mar 2001
Format: Audio CD
I'm not sure if I could deal with being Matthew Sweet. Sure I'd like the talent and he's not bad looking either, however I would be constantly aware that I was one of rocks great under achievers. I would also be aware that this was through no fault of my own.
When Matthew came into wider view with his third album Girlfriend I for one thought that stardom beckoned. With In Reverse his seventh studio album he has managed to take both the rock and the pop sides of his persona and come up with a real corker. Every track is memorable, and you will be left in no doubt that you have witnessed an artist at the peak of his powers.
Having said that - despite what people may tell you - Matthew hasn't made a bad record since Girlfriend, some have been very poppy (Blue Sky on Mars for example) and some have been more angular (Altered Beast) but all have been worth listening to.
So if you like great pop/rock music with a hint of the Byrds/Neil Young/Big Star, start here and work backwards - in reverse if you like - you won't be disappointed. And I'm sure that Matthew could do with the support, we need to convince him that he's been right all this time and we, the record buying public have overlooked one of the finest songwriters of his or any other generation...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Man Raised By Penguins on 21 April 2004
Format: Audio CD
Matthew Sweet fans will probably want to skip the first half of this review. They will already know that, over the last fifteen years, nobody has written finer songs, sung more delicious melodies and been more overlooked than he. From the musical peak of "Girlfriend" through to the present day he has written and recorded half a dozen albums that recount life's travails with catchy, bite-sized chunks of part-jangle, part-retro, perfecto-pop.

They will also be aware that, had he not been afraid of flying, he might very well have visited these shores more often, giving himself valuable exposure at exactly the time Britpop was breaking. His musical sensibilities, an echoing cavern of Byrds-Beatles-BeachBoy influences, comfortably predated the British music press' obsession with that period of UK musical eminence. It seems only logical (and fair) that, nationality aside, he could have enjoyed a place at the table - if not at the head of it.

That Sweet's music has often been arguably derivative over the years is no sign of weakness. He takes his influences and infuses his gargantuan song-writing gift with them - making them stronger, and in no sense unoriginal or fawning. The breadth of influences seems to have burgeoned further with this album. "Millennium Blues", "If Time Permits" and "I Should Have Never Let You Know" not only have that Beach Boy melodic stamp, but share the spacious production values of Pet Sounds, whilst in just one song, "Thunderstorm" he manages to evoke Roy Wood's brand of Wall of Sound, Simon & Garfunkel, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Radiohead, Richie Blackmore, and early Eagles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. K. Jakubczyk on 17 Jun 2007
Format: Audio CD
This is a great album.

The first three tracks; no actually, make that the first four tracks are spliced/ mixed together perfectly - almost like Prince's Lovesexy. I guess that's the whole point this is the concept album as a high-art form.

My favourites: 'Millenium blues' (the album was released in late 1999) was/is the correct antidote to organized fun. It is a great opening track, with reversed horn and guitar production. 'Split personality' is frenzied and all the better for it. 'Never of let you know' underscores Matthew's West Coast influences - namely Spector and Wilson. 'Untitled' is sweet (pardon the pun) and for some reason makes me think of Herbie Hancock's "Maiden voyage"; I don't know why. 'Thunderstorms' is a brilliant four movement epic that reveals Matthew's inetrest in the classics (think Bach).

My absolute favourite is 'What matters'. In an age where we (listeners) are bombarded by bland industrial scale manufactured pop (perhaps read pap), this track is a real gem. Again, Matthew's influences are worn on his sleave - the 12 string guitar is pure Roger McGuin - but who cares, this is blissful West Coast pop at its very best.

If you like power pop, or even if you just like good solid songwriting buy this album!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 78 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Don't Believe the Lack of Hype... 23 Nov 1999
By Scott Slonaker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Judging by its pathetic debut near the bottom of the Billboard 200, _In Reverse_ obviously does not seem high on the record label's priority list. (Sweet has two gold records, you know!) I bemoan this more than usual because _In Reverse_ may be Sweet's finest hour. _Blue Sky on Mars_ was largely a smudgy and meandersome mess with a couple of minor gems; this record bears very little in common with it. "If Time Permits" and "Thunderstorm" are the two best examples of the Spectorian production techniques that you've read about. I would go so far as to say that this one even trumps _Girlfriend_, long held up as Sweet's unassailable masterpiece. Among Sweet's albums, only this one and _100% Fun_ avoid the occasional spottiness that seems inherent in a style that aims for pop bliss in three-minute packages. Oh, and "Faith In You" rocks.
Don't let the lack of radio and MTV play dissuade you- _In Reverse_ is phenomenal.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A Masterpiece of Modern Pop 12 April 2000
By Chuck Augello - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
With albums like "100% Fun" and "Altered Beast", Matthew Sweet has flirted with greatness for years. With "In Reverse" he finally gets there. This is Sweet at the top of his game: exquisite melodies, perceptive lyrics, artful guitar work, and brilliant production. Many reviewers have made comparisons to Phil Spector's Wall of Sound and The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album, but the album this most reminds me of is Side Two of The Beatles' Abbey Road. Many of the songs run together, and the transistions are so invisible that you just fall into the next song and become enveloped by the melody. There's a little bit of everything on this album from scorching rockers like "Split Personality" and "Write Your Own Song" to the sad, wistful ballad "Untitled." The album ends with its masterpiece, the nearly ten minute long "Thunderstorm", a virtual pop symphony consisting of four different songs. While "In Reverse" does not feature one single great track like "Time Capsule" or "Sick of Myself", the album is more than the sum of its parts. It's a true album, best listened to from start to finish, as each song complements the next one musically and emotionally. I can't express how much I love this album. It's been a needed friend to me during a a very sad time in my life. If I'm every sent to that mythical desert island, "In Reverse" is coming with me.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Why isn't this album #1? 24 Nov 1999
By Charles D. Ungar - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I am still amazed that Matthew Sweet isn't a household name. This album is his best (and yes I love both Girlfriend and 100% Fun). There are at least 8 songs on this album that could be smash hits if radio had some taste and got off the boy band/rap merry go round. The Phil Spectre like tracks are amazing with headphones and the final track Thunderstorm is Sweet's Abbey Road medley.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The Ultimate Matthew Sweet Album 7 April 2000
By Mirage - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Matthew Sweet has outdone even himself this time. "In Reverse" is, quite frankly, one of THE best albums ever made, period. Listeners are in for one hell of a treat. "In Reverse" may look back to another era for some of it's inspiration, but it has a sound all it's own. A rich, vibrant one. In fact, some of the songs, such as "If Time Permits" and "What Matters" are absolutely drenched in that wonderful sound. Looking at "In Reverse," one can see all of the feeling and sounds from Matthew's earlier albums converge into what is his masterpiece. The rocker "Split Personality," will remind those familiar with his earlier works of the "Girlfriend" and "Altered Beast." "Faith in You," reminds me of both those albums and "100% Fun," a bit, but at the same time it's a new sound for Matthew. Hide is a slow, sad, and beautiful piano song that makes me thing of some of the songs on "100% Fun." Songs like "Millennium Blues," "If Time Permits," "What Matters," "I Shoulder Never Have Let You Know," and "Thunderstorm" are the ones I consider to be the most innovative. Matthew also uses Phil Specter's famous "Wall of Sound" technique on some of the songs. Choosing best tracks is too difficult for me, because they are all so incredible, except for "Beware My Love," which is not favorite of mine, but as with all of Matthew's Songs, is still great. "Thunderstorm," which is actually four songs cleverly woven into one, is the most outstanding though. I can't do it justice --- you simply have to hear it for yourself. This is a great album for any listener who appreciates truly high-quality music, whether they are new to Matthew Sweet or are long-time fans. "In Reverse" gives us the kind of songs the music world needs more of, especially in this day and age.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
An Unheralded Concept Album? (Plot Theory) 1 Jun 2009
By Pen Name Already Taken - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Matthew Sweet's In Reverse was his last big release of the 90s. Coming a few years after both his short and average "Blue Sky on Mars" CD, you can't help but wish and wonder if the strongest songs from both CDs had been combined into a single release would have done anything for their popularity, overall.

When I first bought the CD, one thing I noticed was how it didn't feel like there was really a single on the CD, but it almost required listening to from start to finish. The CD starts out with three songs that flow into one another as if they were a single long song, while closing out with a one song that is so long and varied that it might have originally been planned to follow the same plan. All in all though, the CD comes off as a lighter sound than his previous albums, but with a wider range of sound.

After relistening to the CD and revisiting the tracks, I get the feeling that this is actually something along the lines of a concept album or an attempt at an alternative rock opera, like Tommy, Lifehouse, Ziggy Stardust or maybe something along the lines of ELO's _Time_.*

But what could this mystery plot be if it indeed a concept album?

While I have no evidence to back this theory, and no one else has ever seemed voice a similar thought, there is very much the sense that these aren't just songs or songs linked in theme, but part of a plot. If you listen to the entire CD with that kind of mindset, it becomes a lot more interesting. *It's also important to note that since chatter has been that MS was a big ELO fan, it adds some credibility to the theory that he was doing his own version of a time-travelling concept album ala ELO's _Time_.

So, what is that plot? One theory I'm toying with is that it might actually be about a would-be songwriter/time traveler who ends up going back in time and attempting to fix his future and the future of a female singer he knew as a youth. (For lack of better names, I'm just referring to them as the Traveler and the Singer.) Many things about the CD, from the CD art, the cover, and even just the title alone seem to have the theme of not only 'time', but obviously going back in time. If you take the concept in conjunction with the story of the Traveler and the Singer, there is a new meaning to the album as a whole.

Tracks 1-3
"Millennium Blues", "If Time Permits", and "Beware My Love"
These three tracks segue into one another, as I said, almost creating a supersingle. I get a somewhat 'above-average' feeling about these three songs, but for some reason they come off a lot better as a single unit.
(Rock opera theory: A character, the time traveler, at a quarter or midlife crisis is doubting their importance in the world, along with the choices and actions they've made in the past. Somehow their actions have had a bad effect on their lives or the lives of others around them.

"MB" is from the perspective of a secondary character, or just establishing an overriding theme of that the Traveler is out of step with the times.
"ITP" is from the perspective of the Traveler. Perhaps less about wanting to change the past, but wanting to relieve the glory days of his relationship with the Singer, but he doesn't want to have to go through the all the challenges of the past, again, to do so.
"BML" could be from the perspective of either the Singer or the Traveler, or maybe both as it does have the slight feeling that it could be a duet. Either the Traveler is living with the regret of their relationship falling apart, or the Singer is consoling (or criticizing) the Traveler.)

4. "Faith In You"
A sort of return to Sweet's early 90s rocker sound.
(ROT: This might not be told from the current perspective of the Traveler, but his recollections of the attitudes of the Singer. A theory I'm holding onto is that the Singer might have been a character who invested much of their faith and romantic trust in the Traveler as a youth (or vice versa), as told from their youthful perspectives before failure set in. In short, he's remembering the good times.)

5. "Hide"
(ROT: This might be the point in the plot that the Traveler has been completely abandoned in the 'present' by the Singer and makes to move back to the past to save their relationship.)

6."Future Shock"
(ROT: Two theories:
1- The Traveler is in the past as his younger self and is (re)introducing himself to the Singer for the first time.
2- The Traveler, more mature but now living as his younger self, starts to realize how directionless and flawed he was as a youth. So, his clouded memories of youth become clearer and more defined, giving him greater reason to change himself and his decisions to affect the future.

7."Split Personality"
(ROT: The character is now in the past, but they're stuck with the guilt, depression and knowledge of the events from the future. This is leading them to try to act how they used to act in the past, but being burdened with the personality and memories of the future. This might signify a change in Traveler as a youth suddenly changing overnight in the eyes of many people (bullies, rivals, classmates, friends, family), a sudden change from what he was originally as a youth from "Future Shock" and the start of a divergent timeline.)

8." I Should Have Never Have Let You Know"
(ROT: The Traveler discovers their new gift of foresight can be used help people, but they're starting to regret it. An alternate theory is that the Traveler is making a choice to change gears in their relationship with the other character in the past, as to allow the pair of them to have a better future.)

9. "Trade Places"
(ROT: The character is at a crossroads, having determined their time travel has the potential to change the future. They don't want to lose the happiness of themselves or the Singer, so they decide to change things for the 'better.')

10. "What Matters"
(ROT: Ok, this is where it gets weird. The character has effected a change in their world, but things aren't working out for them. In fact, I think this song is from the perspective another another character.)

11. "Write Your Own Song"
(ROT: The Traveler's actions in the past has resulted a horrible breakdown in the continuing relationship with the Singer. At this point, I'm willing to say that the story is the Traveler is using knowledge of future hit music to make the other character into a professional and successful singer. However, the Traveler is getting angry that the Singer has either voiced dislike of the music the Traveler is giving them, the his relationship with the Singer has fallen apart (again), or the Singer has discovered that the songs aren't really the Traveler's.)

12. "Worse to Live"
(ROT: Not my favorite song on the CD, so I find it hard to look for a meaning in the narrative for the story of the Traveler and the Singer. There is the obvious meaning from the lyrics, though. My guess is that this segues into a moment where the Traveler discovers he can affect another change in the time by going back again?)

13. "Untitled"
(ROT: This one is hard to put together with a plot for this. It could be that the Traveler is willing to abandon the use of future hits for the Singer in an attempt to use his own abandoned songs that he gave up on. Or the Traveler is planning not to use the future hits or his old abandoned songs, but repair his formerly bad songs written as a youth with techniques and experiences he gained through his life.)

14. "Thunderstorm"
(ROT: This song plays out in several different parts, all with their own sound, to close out the album.
Part 1: The Traveler is ready to accept the 'horrible' real future at some great expense. He plans to make another jump into the past and correct things, again.
Part 2: The Singer and Traveler concile? Or is something else happening?
Part 3: Tone gets a LOT darker. Could the Traveler be planning on doing something more sinister this time around in order to change the future around, again?
Part 4: Tone gets a lot milder. A theory I'm holding onto is that the Traveler sets about a change in the past that prevents he and the Singer from ever meeting. It hints that by never meeting, they actually have much better lives as a result; she not burdened or feeling held back by him, and him not burdened by the guilt of holding her back.
Part 5: Tone gets different, again. The ending is that the Traveler is alone. In short, he's accomplished what he wanted to do from the start. By never meeting the Singer, he never blames or hates himself for being what he feels to be a negative impact on her life.)

As I said, there is no evidence that this is actually supposed to be the narrative, but if you accept the concept album theory, I think it surprisingly works along the lines of a musical Quantum Leap. However, this isn't to say the Traveler/Singer storyline IS the storyline to the album, but just something I've inferred from listening. Another theory is that the Traveler and Singer might just be the same person, the former having gone back in time to guide the past of his younger self. If so, 'Write Your Own Song' then becomes an angry duet between the younger and older versions of the same character, his younger self angry about his own works being disregarded and the older self having no faith in his younger self's skills.

The problem (and benefit) with any theory trying to piece together a plot is that the listener must ultimately decide if this is the unofficial concept of the concept album, and if that the the theme and narrative they want to accept when listening to it.
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