Friday, June 08, 2012

FDF Volume 3 Issue 269 - Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend

Album - Girlfriend
Artist – Matthew Sweet
Key Players - Richard Lloyd – Guitars on 1,2,4,6. Ric Menck – drums on 1,2,4,11,12,13
Robert Quine – lead guitar 3,4,5,7,9-11,13-15. Lloyd Cole – rhythm guitar on 4,7,8,11,12
Greg Leisz – lap steel 3,5,9,12. Fred Maher – drums on 3,5,6,7,9,10, 14 and acoustic guitar on 13. Matthew Sweet – lead vocals on all tracks, guitars, bass, piano

Produced By – Fred Maher and Matthew Sweet

Release Date – October 22, 1991

What caused me to blow off the dust? - The album recently celebrated it's 20th Anniversary and Matthew is touring right now performing this album in it's entirety. Just felt it was time.

Overview – This is the third album from Matthew Sweet. Sweet recording this album after a divorce and found modest chart success with the album charting at #100 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart. Fueled by an animated video, the title track would find Sweet performing to larger crowds. Major commercial success has eluded Sweet, but his hardcore fan base is steady. This album is looked at as a pop masterpiece from the 1990's and it was re-issued in 2006 with a bonus disc.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The 15 song album opens with “Divine Intervention” a track that finds a lone guitar working up the gusto and then Menck clicks off the drums. Sweet puts forth a nice bass line as the band all comes together. The song is a slow builder, with a lot going on with the guitars and drums. Sweet has a solid and clear vocal delivery. A quick guitar solo is placed perfectly and the walking bass line really stands out. Fuzzy and chaotic everything comes back with a delayed and fuzzed out chorus. The layers are complex and the track is incredibly interesting to listen to. The false ending, the extended solos, a great album opener. Lloyd and Menck return on the second track, “I've Been Waiting”. The guitars are bright and there is a more “pop rock” feel. The bass again is up in the mix but the chime of the guitars is bright and again the harmonies are solid. The track is far more “to the point” than the opener with the verse/chorus/verse solo portions used at the right time and length. Sweet has surrounded himself with a solid cast and it only seems to get tighter. The “big” single from the record comes in “Girlfriend”. The guitar intro and the Maher drum line are instantly recognizable. Sweet sounds a little more grizzled on his vocals, but the harmonies are gain very solid with a fair bit of pitch bending. When you really listen to what the background folks are doing its very complex and once you hear it, you won't “un-hear it” if that makes any sense. A great solo on guitar leads to another run at the chorus and that heads to the verse. The rumbling drum break, short but none the less filled with perfect timing is all the better when the guitar answers and it all comes back with the shakers and bass line. Maher loves the ride cymbal and gives that a heavy work out as the band harmonies that one last time and we are done. “Looking at the Sun” is a bit more laid back with the guitar, bass and drums all calmly laying the bed of music for the vocal track. The track doesn't jump out as overly interesting per se but the band is solid throughout. “Winona” follows (and is not about the famous Ryder either). A more southern twang track with Leisz setting that tone on the lap steel. Sweet again is someone laid back and the band follows his lead not really taking things out of the laid back feel. There is a nice longer acoustic guitar solo that blends well with the drums and bass. Clicking off “Evangeline” it finds itself quickly in the zone with the guitars and tight drumming. Sweet sounds great vocally mixing his range and really finding his comfort zone. Again the harmonies are solid and the backing players just add to the overall solid track. “Day for Night” is the shortest track on the record at 2:55. The drums are slow to get things going and the blues guitar is just begging to be let out of the barn like a cooped up horse, but it is held back. As Sweet sings he seems to want to keep it with a bit of a mellow blues vibe even with the drums seeming to pound otherwise. They are kept in check and the guitars all seem to find their one common place and allow it to blossom nicely. One false start on guitar doesn't see to hold “Thought I Knew You” back. The hand claps under the guitar push the track. There appears to be a layer of acoustic guitars with Sweet on vocals for the first minute plus before one seems to break off a little and the vocal layers begin. The slide returns on “You Don't Love Me” and Sweet finds the right tempo with a deeper vocal tone. The slide resonates well with the acoustic guitar and Sweet seems to really find his comfort zone having a nice slide guitar section wash over with the acoustic guitars. Piano adds even more filler to the track. We pick up the tempo some on “I Wanted to Tell You” as the guitars work with the drums to get things started. Sweet hardly hesitates on most tracks to get the vocals going. Rare is it for a song to go a few bars before he sings. The drums seem to lead the charge here with a lot of cymbal crashes and ride cymbal strikes. As noted the harmonies on this track, like the other tracks, are really solid. Bands don't seem to do this enough, and it is very interesting when done well. It is done well here. Menck clicks off “Don't Go”on his drum sticks and you'd think it was going to take off, but the song is mid tempo awash with acoustic and electric guitars. After a wave of vocals there is a longer than expected electric guitar solo before the acoustics come back and the harmonies return. “Your Sweet Voice” is another track with the compliment of slide guitar with a secondary electric guitar. The vocals are really hushed on this, but layered so perfectly. It even has a Crosby Stills and Nash type feel. The guitar solo later takes from that, but vocally its layered like a classic CSN tune. The dueling guitars sound great at the start of “Does She Talk?” The blending of two electrics and an acoustic fill the track. The drums work to wrangle the guitars, but they seem to be having a lot of fun firing off one another. The band seems to really be playing off one another and the results are a fun, loud romp. “Holy War” is a heavy, driving track with Maher hitting the drums hard and the guitars filling the gaps. Concluding the album is “Nothing Lasts” a quiet solo acoustic track.

Where are they now? - Matthew still writes, records and tours. In 2006 he paired with Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles) to record a collection of cover songs. It was fun for both and a follow up was released in 2009. His most recent album “Modern Art” was released in September of 2011. Matthew is currently on tour performing this album in full.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I have never seen Matthew Sweet live. The chances are “probable” for (as noted) he will perform this album in full on June 19th at the Paradise here in Boston.

FDF Overall Take - Chances are you have this, own it, or have heard it in full.  Do it again, the harmonies alone are worth your time.  Great stuff.

Official Site
Matthew on Facebook

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!


Divine Intervention (solo/acoustic)

I've Been Waiting

Evangeline (Live)

The album is still pretty easy to find in both the standard and deluxe versions.  Give
this a shot.

Disclaimer – I am just a music fan. Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly about the band/members etc. I strive to have a fun and enjoyable site. This site used to post mp3s but ran in to many issues. The audio clips provided are usually from YouTube. No copy write infringement is intended. Please alert me if something should be pulled. Finally, support the artist featured, or your favorite artist by purchasing their music, seeing their shows if possible and saying hi. They need your support.


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