| 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, 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 & 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.