Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Top Ten Hit Parade: Matthew Sweet

He's one of the music industry's little known artists who's done a bit of everything over the years, but never become a superstar.

I began listening to Matthew Sweet back in 1995, when "100% Fun" was BMG Music Club's featured selection of the month. I was rarely one to buy their quick pick (as my music tastes can be anything but mainstream), though something about this particular album called to me. They listed The Beatles as one of his musical influences, and I have always been a fan of the Fab Four, so that pushed me over the top in my choice, and I was willing to give him a chance. The rest, as they say, is history. I was hooked right after the first few tracks, and have been listening ever since. Over the years, he's remained one of my favorite musical artists, and he currently sits at #4 on my personal preference list.

Below is a list of my top ten favorite Matthew Sweet songs. The order may shift a little, depending on my mood, but these are a solid collection that I can listen to any day of the week.

10: Life Without You–A very sweet love song with a steady pop soundtrack. There's a "funny" story behind why my wife can't stand to listen to this song, and I might tell it someday. Regardless, it's a really nice little tune, though perhaps a bit sappy. It appears on "Altered Beast," an album named for the hit video game some of you might remember.

9: Missing Time–A song all about alien abduction (from the aptly named album "Blue Sky on Mars"). It's a slow and soft song which screams "1970s" to me for some reason. Listen and see what you think.

8: I Wanted To Tell You–From his breakthrough "Girlfriend"album, which brought him much of his current success. It's an off-beat love ballad of sorts.

7: Back Of My Mind–An excellent song from his most recent album, "Sunshine Lies." I'm still trying to figure out the lyrical nuances of this piece, but the music is excellent.

6: Over It–A short and sweet rock piece about disagreements, and getting over it!

5: Tomorrow–A song of optimism and coming to terms with reality. The musical score is upbeat and sweet, and I bet you've never heard an accordion sound so good! The perfect conclusion to "Living Things."

4: Future Shock–It's about a dysfunctional relationship on the rocks. The backbeat and the lead guitar speak to me more than anything else.

3: Walk Out–The music is haunting in this one, with the country-rock guitar musings and a Harpsichord backup. Try to find an insightful message in the lyrics.

2: Get Older–A song about being young and growing older, just like the title implies. A really nice harmony with this one. Both this and Walk Out come from "100% Fun."

1: Thunderstorm–A 9:36 rock symphony, which takes us through 4 distinct parts. This is simply the best song he's ever put together in my opinion. You can really hear the Beatles influence in places, which might be another reason it's my favorite. This accompanies Future Shock on "In Reverse."

These songs may not have been "hits," but they certainly are worthy of that title in my book. There's no accounting for taste, so I can't say if anyone else will agree with my favorable view of these tunes. It's just my three cents worth.

There you have it, my personal top ten Matthew Sweet songs. There are a lot more which I could mention, and I might at some point, but this is a nice sampling to start. Try them out, and see what happens. You never know.

*The links provided are listings for the mp3 downloads at, which are pretty cheap by themselves. I know there are different sites where you can download music for free, but I've never used them (I may be the last man online who hasn't pirated music; I'm such a boy scout). I'm sure these songs are available pretty much everywhere music is stolen, though I encourage you to acquire them through legitimate channels (Matthew Sweet has to eat!).

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