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Matchbox Twenty ~ Mad Season
Sell 10 million copies of your debut album and you might find yourself putting on a few airs. Evidence that it's happened to matchbox twenty can be found in the new, spelled-out format of their all-lowercased name and the pretentious insertion of that name into the title of this, their sophomore set. The level of popularity achieved by their 1996 debut, "i"Yourself or Someone Like You, posed a more profound problem, though--should they follow in the footsteps of that smash effort, or strike out in a different direction? To their credit, the Orlando quintet puts their massive popularity on the line by opting mostly for the latter course: there are no obvious retreads here of earlier hits such as "Push," "3 a.m.," and "Real World"--or of "Smooth," the multiple-Grammy-winning Santana hit penned and sung by matchbox frontman Rob Thomas. Instead, the album sports a nice mix of material that is catchy, but may take a little longer to settle into your memory banks, such as the moody yet intense "Bent," the horn-driven rocker "Black amp; White People," and several songs examining various aspects of relationships, "If You're Gone," "Rest Stop," and "Bed of Lies." Whatever the members of matchbox twenty want to call themselves, these guys may yet be able to have it all--artistic growth as well as massive sales. They're not headed for Hootieville just yet. --Daniel Durchholz
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