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4.7 out of 5 stars
More Than You Think You Are
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2003
For the uninitiated (stumbled across this band / album by happy chance, maybe?) Matchbox Twenty is perhaps the best kept secret of US music as far as the UK is concerned, although some Brits may remember Rob Thomas, the band's lead singer, accompanying Santana on 1999's 'Smooth'. The band's sound could be described as Counting Crows meets Stereophonics meets itself in a dark alley... Not that the music's too dark - although some of Thomas' lyrical twists make classic just-been-dumped listening - fans of the band's previous two albums ('Yourself or Someone Like You' (1998) and 'Mad Season' (2001)) will already have motored down the M20 with some of m20's dashboard-thumping anthems blaring at their grinning mugs (or at least thought of it...).
So what about m20's latest offering? First impressions were that this was capital-"R" Rock that was in danger of sounding overly commercial, but somehow managed to polish up rougher. All the sophistication you'd hope for from a band's third album is there, and more - it will grab you on first listening, but put a bit more effort in and you will be rewarded by being gripped even tighter.
From the off, first track 'Feel' kicks the listener in the back with Brian Yale's Rottweiler-style bass, and the fact that the next track, 'Disease' was co-written by Mick Jagger might lead one to believe that the stall has been set out firmly in Rockville. However, what follows, in the form of 'Bright Lights', is a complex, building ode to the loss of a loved one to ambition and star-strike, with a strong piano presence, and this rich complexity is continued throughout the album, yet somehow managing to avoid feeling schizophrenic.
Picking notable tracks from a whole album of gems seems unjust, but 'Hand Me Down' stands out as a by-now-trademark ballad of simple, dark beauty, and 'Soul' just has it all - 'nough said.
The band as a whole seems more confident in its ability to part ways together, and return as one at the crucial moment, in the style of the best blues oufits. The sleeve notes testify to Paul Doucette's mastery of more than just drums, and indeed there is more breadth of instrumentation than the brass-dominated 'Mad Season' and the raw guitar of 'Yourself or...'. Kyle Cook is, as ever, in virtuoso control of his 6-stringed beast, with the luxury of being able to depend heavily on the solid platform of Adam Gaynor's rhythm guitar (not to mention the noticeably improved backing vocals of this pair). And then there's Rob Thomas, he of the polished gravel voice - fans will have no complaints, although newcomers may remark on his similarity to Adam Duritz of Counting Crows, or even, on 'Soul' in particular, Jon Bon Jovi.
In conclusion, then, a storm of an album which deserves to set the music scene alight, but in the face of lamentable UK marketing, will probably just start a few Stateside bushfires. Prove me wrong - buy the album, if you've enjoyed any of the offerings from Coldplay, Stereophonics, Counting Crows, Barenaked Ladies or the innumerable new bands with "The..." in their names - I can virtually guarantee that you will end up wondering, like me, why Matchbox Twenty are so unheard of in the UK.
I'll leave the last words to Rob and the boys: "It hits you so much harder than you ever thought it would, but don't you worry, cuz you've got soul..."
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 31 December 2002
For the uninitiated (stumbled across this band / album by happy chance, maybe?) Matchbox Twenty is perhaps the best kept secret of US music as far as the UK is concerned, although some Brits may remember Rob Thomas, the band's lead singer, accompanying Santana on 1999's 'Smooth'. The band's sound could be described as Counting Crows meets Stereophonics meets itself in a dark alley... Not that the music's too dark - although some of Thomas' lyrical twists make classic just-been-dumped listening - fans of the band's previous two albums ('Yourself or Someone Like You' (1998) and 'Mad Season' (2001)) will already have motored down the M20 with some of m20's dashboard-thumping anthems blaring at their grinning mugs (or at least thought of it...).
So what about m20's latest offering? First impressions were that this was capital-"R" Rock that was in danger of sounding overly commercial, but somehow managed to polish up rougher. All the sophistication you'd hope for from a band's third album is there, and more - it will grab you on first listening, but put a bit more effort in and you will be rewarded by being gripped even tighter.
From the off, first track 'Feel' kicks the listener in the back with Brian Yale's Rottweiler-style bass, and the fact that the next track, 'Disease' was co-written by Mick Jagger might lead one to believe that the stall has been set out firmly in Rockville. However, what follows, in the form of 'Bright Lights', is a complex, building ode to the loss of a loved one to ambition and star-strike, with a strong piano presence, and this rich complexity is continued throughout the album, yet somehow managing to avoid feeling schizophrenic.
Picking notable tracks from a whole album of gems seems unjust, but 'Hand Me Down' stands out as a by-now-trademark ballad of simple, dark beauty, and 'Soul' just has it all - 'nough said.
The band as a whole seems more confident in its ability to part ways together, and return as one at the crucial moment, in the style of the best blues oufits. The sleeve notes testify to Paul Doucette's mastery of more than just drums, and indeed there is more breadth of instrumentation than the brass-dominated 'Mad Season' and the raw guitar of 'Yourself or...'. Kyle Cook is, as ever, in virtuoso control of his 6-stringed beast, with the luxury of being able to depend heavily on the solid platform of Adam Gaynor's rhythm guitar (not to mention the noticeably improved backing vocals of this pair). And then there's Rob Thomas, he of the polished gravel voice - fans will have no complaints, although newcomers may remark on his similarity to Adam Duritz of Counting Crows, or even, on 'Soul' in particular, Jon Bon Jovi.
In conclusion, then, a storm of an album which deserves to set the music scene alight, but in the face of lamentable UK marketing, will probably just start a few Stateside bushfires. Prove me wrong - buy the album, if you've enjoyed any of the offerings from Coldplay, Stereophonics, Counting Crows, Barenaked Ladies or the innumerable new bands with "The..." in their names - I can virtually guarantee that you will end up wondering, like me, why Matchbox Twenty are so unheard of in the UK.
I'll leave the last words to Rob and the boys: "It hits you so much harder than you ever thought it would, but don't you worry, cuz you've got soul..."
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2004
With hits like 3AM, Bent and Push, Matchbox Twenty has undeniably some of the best-written, well-structured songs and lyrics. These range from angsty, morose, or melancholic, to beautiful, soulful lyrics and beats. And for those who are new to Matchbox, please do not be misled into thinking that MB20 is just your ordinary rock or alternative band. As frontman Rob Thomas says, they don't belong to any specific category, and this makes versatility possible.
The thing I love best about MB20 is that they have a good balance of styles --- ranging from a cross between ballads, rock, alternative, and soul, catering to everyone. And if you thought 2000's Mad Season was good let me tell you that More Than You Think You Are is simply terrific, one that is definitely a treat for all Matchbox Twenty fans.
Once again, expect to hear real angsty songs, particularly the hard rocking opening track Feel, and the album's first single,Disease. Rock fanatics would also be delighted to know the latter was co-written by Rob Thomas and Mick Jagger. And compared to its predecessor, Mad Season, this album has even more diversity and heartfelt, wholesome lyrics. Each song being very different from the song before it, and still being just as captivating, clearly justifies the group's versatility and creativity.And what never fails to impress me are the assortment of instruments these guys can play and their ability to incorporate classical elements like choirs and violins into their distinctly rock, funky music.
Each track is easily a favourite. But there are exceptional tracks like Unwell, Could I Be You (written by Paul) and Hand Me Down. Bright lights, the highlight of this album, is possibly one of the group's best-written heart-wrenching ballads to date, while All I Need, with its country rock 70's feel, has such a strangely infectious beat and charm. If you like retro beats, you'll definitely take to it. Finally, there's my personal favourite, the Difference, which makes for a perfect finale on this musical extravaganza. More Than You Think You Are is certainly reflective of Matchbox Twenty's immense talent, and leaves one eagerly anticipating their next project.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 27 November 2002
The long-awaited new album from the masters of intelligent rock is even better than I expected.
A heady hybrid of the first two fabulous albums "More than you think you are" is everything I thought it would be and so much more. The sound has evolved and matured so much that they cannot be accused of sticking to a winning formula or resting on their laurels.
Rob's lyrics continue to evoke memories of every heartbreak but here and there the anger and bitterness we all feel from time to time boils over. These songs, such as the dramatic opener "Bright Lights" are rockier than previous material and contribute to a mood which ebbs and flows throughout this musical journey. Rob's wit still shines through, for instance with a wonderful play on Police lyrics, and he continues to portray the painful truth in a fresh and vibrant way.
Rob's voice has matured and his range his broadened to include the raunchy and the heartfelt croon - even sexier than all the prolific praise heaped on him thus far gives him credit for.
This is undoubtedly their best yet and I hope it's the one to finally give them the break they deserve in the UK.
I can't classify them or liken them to anyone else, they are truly unique and talented artists as individuals and even more so as a group.
Just rush to buy it NOW!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2003
This album is, without a doubt, one of the best albums I have ever heard - and I haven't been deprived either. I have to stop myself from listening too much in case it should stop having an effect on me, though frankly I dont think that's ever going to be a problem. Besides being addictive this album is coated in brilliance, put it on loud on a top sound system and I would defy even the most hardened death metal fan not to be impressed, if not by its construction then by the songs like 'feel' and 'disease' that make you want to jump around the room, air guitar in hand, or by the songs 'unwell', 'bright lights', 'hand me down' and the exquisite 'downfall' that make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. It is in my opinion, though, that the album finishes with the best song, and that's no mean feat. If you exclude the "hidden" bonus tune then the last track is 'the difference', which is quite possible my favourite song. Ever. Both lyrically and musically beautiful, I cannot begin to describe how much I like this song. So I won't.
Buy this album, for your owe sake, and anyone else you know who might happen to listen to it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2003
I first discovered Matchbox twenty when i saw the end of push live on VH1 about six years ago. I luckily grabbed the name of the band, but it wasn't until a year later that i found the album in my local record shop. That album quickly became the soundtrack to my late teens. I wasn't taken in by Mad Season and I thought they might be losing the plot a bit. But then More than you think you are came out in america and i got it sent over and, WOW!!!!!!!!
For me it is the most Complete album of the last Five years. Every track is as good as eachother. The highlight is most Definatly track 9 "Downfall", it has a full gospel choir in the middle. I have heard it a million times but it still sends a shiver down my spine. Other Highlights are "Bright Lights", "Hand me down"......what am i saying this whole album is a highlight. I feel that this is the album that will establish Matchbox Twenty in the UK.
One Tip though.....Play Loud, oh so very loud!!!!!!!!!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2003
Mention Matchbox20 to most people and they'll stare at you as if you just asked them to describe Einstein's Theory of Relativity,but mention them to a select few and you will notice a distinctly different reaction - eyes lighting up, a smile spreading across their face - and when you hear the band's previous albums, you'll understand why.
For me, they are the greatest band the UK will ever hear about for a long time yet, and their latest album is the best one they have produced so far.
Taking a radical change of direction from the softer tones of "Yourself or Someone Like You" and "Mad Season", "More Than You Think You Are" settles for a more rock-orientated sound, although they do put in some very nice ballads such as "Unwell", quite possibly the first song i know about being crazy, and the rather emotional "The Difference", but whether you listen to the ballads or the harder tracks - of which "Disease" and "Feel" are but two - you will notice the band's usual unstoppable energy, and the penchant for build-ups they've had since "Mad Season".
This album, like its predecessors, manages to display a wide range of emotion in each song - there's joy, love, hate, pain, and in the case of "You're So Real" - the album's most energetic track - pure lunacy.
So, to sum it up - this album has emotion, it has ballads, it has rock, but more than that it has the great sound that makes it unmistakeably Matchbox20, and the raw energy that suffuses everything they do.
If you liked the previous two albums, you need this like you need air. Get it, and get it now.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2002
The long-awaited new album from Matchbox Twenty is even better than I (a devoted fan) could have hoped for.
Rob's lyrics are as heartfelt and sincerely delivered as ever and more than a little angry and bitter in places. As we have come to expect from the master lyricist they are full of clever and witty wordplay - including a sarcastic nod to Sting and the Police. A must for anyone who has ever been broken-hearted! His vocal style has evolved again, even sexier and raunchier, and the rockier numbers are the better for it. He can still croon with the best of them though.There has been so much written about Rob's individual talent and none of the praise is overstated.
A heady mix of the first two albums with an added maturity that ensures that no-one could accuse them of resting on their laurels or sticking to a formula.
In a word, fabulous!!
I may be biased but I urge everyone to go out and buy this, and perhaps finally they will get their richly deserved break in the UK and we can catch up with the rest of he world!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Right from opener 'Feel' you know you're in for a different kind of album from Matchbox 20. It's got the polish of 'mad season' without the deluge of instruments that some people seemed to think made it sink under its own weight and it has got more variety in instruments than the mostly guitar-based debut 'Yourself or someone like you.'
Second track is 'Disease' the first single, while possibly a blatant attempt at capitalising on the success of Rob THomas and Santana's 'smooth' it is a lot of swanky fun, complete with Thomas' penchant for deliciously nasty women scenarios ("You drove me to the fire and left me there to burn"). Bright Lights has to be seen live to truely appreciate (man did that song kick ass at wembley!), but it's simple build-up approach pays off with THomas' voice rising to a screech and Kyle Cook's guitar solos powered home by Paul Doucette's best drumming. In fact one of the highlights of the album is the musicianship on display here - The Doucette penned 'could i be you' is effortlessly catchy, hinting at just how much potential the band still hasn't tapped.
The later half of the album is a superb balance, 'downfall' recruits a gospel section and just about pulls it off, while ' you're so real' is worthy of being played on a very large dancefloor, with Brian Yale's thundering Bass offering a swaggering rythm over more of Thomas' always welcome voice. Closer 'The difference' is a fitting kaleiodoscopic end to an album that ups the ante on its predescessors. While it might not contain as many 'classics' as the previous two albums, it is certainly their most consistent album too date. Now let's not hope we don't have to wait over 5 years for the next one!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 2 October 2003
So, when I first bought "Yourself or someone like you" I claimed it was the best album I'd ever bought. Same happened when I bought "Mad Season". So I waited for this album somewhat nervously and almost expecting to be disappointed because I couldn't imagine a better album. Well, damn, was I ever WRONG.
This is FANTASTIC. I got it in August after a looong money related delay, having not heard a single track. What a surprise! It's absolutely nothing like mad season, and only bears a slight resemblance to yourself or someone like you. It's a lot funkier, it makes you want to dance, move, tap, whatever. Their is much more of a latin feel to it in parts.
I cannot, absolutely cannot choose a favourite song. I know I don't like Feel as much as the rest, but other than that I cannot pick them apart. The song I most want to listen to changes from day to day, according to my mood. I haven't listened to a single other CD in 6 weeks because every time I put one on I figure I'd rather be listening to this and have to change it! I'm going to review each song:
Feel - I think this is the weakest song on the album, and its STILL 100x better than 99% of music out there. GREAT guitar riffs, and possibly one of the best delivered lines of all time "I'm only asking because I wanna *know*!", it must be belted out with the cd.
Disease - Fantastic intro, great break, definitely a latin feel, makes you want to move. Reminds me somewhat of "Smooth". Great lyrics too, incredibly catchy chorus.
Bright Lights - Recorded, this song is great. Live, it's the best song I've ever seen performed. The feeling Thomas puts into his piano playing and his singing in this song is immense, it just reaches out and shakes you. Love that piano. Good guitar solo too. Great climax.
Unwell - Never has a song reached out to me so much as this one. It captures depression and the feelings that encompass it so well I'm forced to think it's something Thomas has had personal experience with. The lyrics are just... mindblowing. Really. Listen to it.
Cold - Wasnt keen on this at first but its so explosively catchy that its become one of my favourites to belt out.
All I Need - Fantastic song. Lyrics are great, possibly the MOST catchy chorus on the album, gets really stuck in my head. Feel good song.
Hand Me Down - Saw this song live, and was blown away. The best song in terms of songwriting I think Thomas has ever written, except maybe If You're Gone. Heartbreaking and yet not mushy.
Could I Be You - If I had to choose a favourite this would be it I think. For today at least. Such a strong lyric: "You're laughing out loud at the thought of being alive, and I was wondering, could I just be you tonight?" something I think everyone can relate to. Written by Doucett too, he has a talent there, hopefully they'll use him more in the future.
Downfall - LOVE this track. It's the most wholehearted song I've ever heard. It has choirs, it has guitars and drums and bass and people BELTING out this song. You cannot help but sing along.
Soul - Was one of my favourites, feel good, but it's wearing off. It's the only song I'm growing tired of, but possibly because it's surrounded by such freakin stellar songs, not because it's dull in its own right. Just seems a little bland in comparison, and the lyrics aren't great apart from the chorus.
You're so Real - There is only one word to describe this song: wacky. It REALLY makes you move. It cheers you up no matter how crap you feel, it makes you play air guitar, it makes you dance and tap. And it's so so so catchy. It also had the craziest guitar part I've ever heard and I love it.
The Difference - There's always a song like this on mb20 albums. On Mad Season it was Bed Of Lies. Sounds like a christmas carol, but it's growing on me. Mostly because I love the first two lines: "Slow dancing on the boulevard in the quiet moments while the city's still dark". Great rhyme.
So Lonely - Latin to the core. Ricky Martin eat your heart out. You cannot help but move to this. I was stoked they played it when I saw them live. Great show on stage. Great song to finish the album on, because it makes you want to start it all over again! Also love the banter at the end of this song, reminds me of the bit before "Bent". Hee.
Anyway if you haven't bought this album BUY IT NOW. You won't find a better album out there.
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