Matchbox Twenty ruled the airwaves between 1996 and 2004 with hits like "3 a.m.," "Unwell," and "Bent." So when I heard that after 10 years they were releasing a new album of all new material, I was more than a tiny bit excited. Folks, I really wanted to like this album, but unfortunately it falls a little short.
The great moments on the album, however, are really great. The first track "Parade" is one of my favorites. It has an anthem feel to it and reminds me of their glory days. Rob Thomas also sounds wonderful in the country-like "Overjoyed." I read that this track will be released as their next single; wise choice. Equally as great is the acoustic ballad "I Will." But the song I loved on the first listen and have been listening to repeatedly is "Sleeping At The Wheel." It evokes U2 or Toad the Wet Sprocket, builds slowly, and has beautiful lyrics. So come on, come on we can be saved / The lives we live, the wars we wage / When everyone just tells us how to feel / We're sleeping at the wheel. Give it a listen below.
The problems arise when the band tries to take on modern trends. There is the very disco-like and corny "Put Your Hands Up." The trumpet jumping 80's sounding "Radio." And the hodge-podge sound of "Like Sugar." These songs really didn't work for me.
The snarky "She's So Mean" kind of splits the difference between the two sounds, but one song isn't enough to pull it all together. I respect that they are trying to grow and evolve their sound, but this album just goes in way too many directions for me. And that's pretty ironic considering the album title is North.