First Listen: Matchbox Twenty returns


In the time since Matchbox Twenty’s last album, More Than You Think You Are, was released in 2002, the members of the band have focused on solo careers. Lead singer Rob Thomas found the most success putting out two albums that both reached the top 5 on the Billboard album charts.

Now, after a ten-year hiatus, Matchbox Twenty has finally come out with their fourth studio album entitled North.

“Parade,” North’s first track, brings back the vintage feel of earlier hits by the band, such as “Push” and “3 a.m.” Immediately following is the first single from the album, “She’s So Mean.” The song has already found success on the radio due to its catchy tune and lyrics.

The second single “Overjoyed” follows and it doesn’t really add much as it slows down the pace of the album. This is one of the faults of North. The album offers many vintage MB20 songs along with many catchy and upbeat songs that offer more of a pop-rock sound. The constant change throws off the flow and makes the listening experience a little less enjoyable.

“Put Your Hands Up” and “Our Song” are another part of the album’s downfall. The band experiments with a dance style beat and voice distortion effects, but that’s not the problem. The lack of any meaningful lyrics, which can be found in some of their more upbeat songs, brings the overall quality of them south (“Singing oh-oh-oh-oh” repeated seven times or “This can be our song,” repeated eight times for example). This is also seen in a few of the later tracks including “Radio” and “Like Sugar.”

The tracks will no doubt find success on the radio due to their catchiness, but would’ve been better off if they had not been put in with the rest of the albums better tracks.

The album again returns to a slow pace with “I Will.” This song is one of the standouts of the album, simply because of the fact that it is not overdone or overproduced. The following track “English Town” seems to follow suit, however it unexpectedly yet gracefully picks up during the chorus and midway through the song.

“The Way” sung by lead guitarist Kyle Cook, is another one of the standout tracks on the album. Cook has previously sang for the band before, providing the back-up vocals and the chorus for the song “Hang” (from the album Yourself or Someone Like You)

The album closes out with “Sleeping At The Wheel” which stays with the vintage MB20 feel.

Although important to note that sometimes a band’s musical style changes overtime, it’s hard to argue that MB20 has become a pop-rock band when so many of the tracks on this album show that they still have what made them so successful in the first place. North is essentially two albums combined into one and although a few of the pop tracks are enjoyable to listen to, they would’ve done much better if they had stuck with one style throughout the entire album.