Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1986)
- Matthew Sweet -- vocals, guitar, rhythm guitar, bass
supporting musicians (1986)
- Dave Allen -- synthesizers
- Rusty Anderson -- guitar
- Tony Beard -- drums
- Howard Benson -- synthesizers
- Adele Bertei -- backing vocals
- Steve Bolton -- guitar
- Mike Campbell -- guitar
- Don Dixon -- backing vocals
- Rob Fisher -- drums, percussion
- Anton Fier -- drums, percussion
- Jody Harris -- rhythm guitar
- David Kahne -- guitar, keyboards
- Fred Maher -- drums, percussion
- Keith Mack -- guitar
- John Mahoney -- synthesizers
- Tony Mandl -- keyboards
- Aimee Mann -- backing vocals
- John McCurry -- gguitar
- Debbie Peterson -- backing vocals
- Vicki Peterson -- backing vocals
- Rob Sabino -- keyboards
- Valerie Simpson -- backing vocals
- Phil Spalding -- bass
- Chris Stamey -- bass
- Sara Sweet -- backing vocals
- Alan Tarney -- keyboards, synthesizers
- Jim Telfir -- synthesizers
- Gary Thomas -- bass keybaords
- Bernie Worrell -- keyboards, synthesizers
line up (2017)
- Matthew Sweet -- vocals, bass, guitar, mandolin, Mellolton, organ,
- Rod Agent -- keyboards
- Paul Chastain -- guitar
- Gary Louris -- guitar, backing vocals
- Valentine McCalumn -- dobro, slide guitar, guitar, steel guitar,
- Ric Menck -- drums, percussion
- John Moremen -- guitar
- Debbi Peterson -- drums, percussion
- The Buzz of Delight
- The Jacks
- Ming Tea
- Oh OK
- The Specs
- Matthew Sweet and Suzanna Hoffs
- The Thorns
Rating: 4 stars ****
Country/State: Lincoln, Nebraska
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: promo stamp on back cover; custom inner sleeve
Catalog ID: SOLD 2139
Price: SOLD $10.00
Having spent time with the bands Buzz of Delight (with Michael Stipes sister Lynda) and Oh Ok, 1986 saw the talented and good looking Matthew Sweet get a shot at a solo career. Signed by Columbia, the label clearly had big hopes for Sweet. Whereas most debut albums are done quick and cheap, 1986's "Inside" was recorded at studios in Boston, Los Angeles, London, and New York. Sweet was also teamed with a slew of happenin' producers including Dave Allen, Don Dixon, Stephen Hague, David Kahne and Scott Litt. I won't even get into the list of supporting artists - suffice it to say it made for one of the year's most impressive list of collaborators.
So what did Columbia get for there investment? Well in commercial terms, not much. Critics were actually pretty nice to Sweet and while Columbia floated a couple of singles, neither 'Blue Fools' or 'Save Time for Me' did anything. Neither did the parent album. And today the album tends to get overlooked, if not slammed by most fans. That's unfortunate since song-for-song the collection offered up a wonderful set of highly melodic, radio friendly pop tunes that would have shamed most better known pop acts (had anyone been listening). To my ears there was only truly disappointing tune - the single 'Save Time for Me'. That left lots of highlights including Sweet's collaboration with Adele Bertei 'By Herself', The Bangles-styled 'Blue Fools', and 'This Above All'. As mentioned, the album included a stunning collection of collaborators, but one of the most interesting things was how much of the album was a true solo effort. On tracks like 'We Lose Another Day, 'Catchy Your Breath', 'Watch You Walk' and 'Save Time For Me' Sweet was responsible for almost all of the instrumentation. My biggest issue with the album isn't the material itself, rather the highly dated production. The whole thing just has that patented mid-'80s sound which has aged all that well - maybe it's time for it to re-emerge ... hopefully not.
"Inside" track listing:
1.) Quiet Her (Matthew Sweet) - 3:27 rating: **** stars
The voice and sunshine pop sounds were instantly recognizable and while the song initially came off as being inconsequential, it's radio-friendly charms quickly came to the forefront. Great hook and a nice way to start the collection.
2.) Blue Fools (Matthew Sweet) - 3:43 rating: **** stars
Always liked Howard Benson's weird synthesizer noises ... they kind of misdirected you since when the song revealed its melody it took off in a thoroughly beguiling top-40 direction, complete with mesmerizing backing vocals from The Bangles Debbe and Vicki Peterson. In fact, if you imagined The Bangles being led by a male singer you'd get a feel for this one. That's probably why Columbia tapped it as 7" and 12" singles:
- 1986's 'Blue Fools' b/w 'Anyone Would Say You're Wrong' (Columbia catalog number 38-06640)
- 1986's 'Blue Fools' b/w 'Blue Fools' (Columbia catalog number CAS 2635)
3.) We Lose Another Day (Matthew Sweet - Pal Shazar) - 3:11 rating: **** stars
One of three tunes co-written with ex Slow Children member Pal Shazar, ' We Lose Another Day' was even brighter and more radio-friendly that 'Blue Fools'. This is one of the tracks I think about when I read the mixed reviews that the album generated. You simply had to wonder how Columbia missed out on releasing this one as a single.
4.) Catch Your Breath (Matthew Sweet) - 4:00 rating: **** stars
The first song that wasn't clearly tooled for radio play, 'Catchy Your Breath' had a dark, slightly ominous edge that actually served to make it one of the album's most interesting performances. Wish I new who the backing singer was - the liner notes simply credited 'Eddie'.
5.) Half Asleep (Matthew Sweet) - 4:26 rating: **** stars
'Half Asleep' was the first tune that initially didn't totally win be over. Note I said 'initially'. With a slightly taunted edge that the rest of side one, I quickly came around to the tune's charms.
Featuring Aimee Mann on backing vocals, 'This Above All' moved back into Bangles jangle rock territory with one of those soaring refrains that Sweet seemed to effortless toss out.
2.) Save Time for Me (Matthew Sweet - Jules Shear) - 4:14 rating: *** stars
Even though it was far from the best song on the album, Columbia elected to put its marketing effort behind the big sappy ballad 'Save Time for Me'. The even paid for an equally sappy promotional video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6mxKQEUTTs And while I initially hated the song, I'll grudgingly admit it had a sweet melody and the wistful vocals eventually started to win me over.
- 1986's 'Save Time for Me' b/w 'Watch You Walking' (Columbia catalog number 38-06286)
- 1986's 'Save Time for Me' b/w 'Save Time for Me' (Columbia catalog number CAS 2484)
3.) By Herself (Matthew Sweet - Adele Bertei) - 3:47 rating: **** stars
Crap, what was Columbia thinking when they released 'Save Time for Me' as the single ? Sweet's collaboration with Adele Bertie is the tune that would have made him a superstar years before 'Girlfriend' ... Powered by a great Garry Thomas bass keyboards line, Sweet on strumming acoustic guitar, Cool It Reba/ guitarist John McCurry on lead guitar, and co-writer Bertie and Valerie Simpson on backing vocals this three and a half minutes offered up a near perfect slice of glistening pop. The hook simply would not leave you alone. Who cared if it was smothered in '80s production effects?
4) Brotherhood (Matthew Sweet - Pal Shazar) - 3:31 rating: **** stars
Sweet at his jangle-rock best and one of the album highlights ... Madness' John McGeoch on guitar solo.
5.) Love I Trusted (Matthew Sweet) - 4:15 rating: **** stars
I remember thinking 'Love I Trusted; was a bit too commercial for Sweet's own good ... And then a day later I found the song playing in my head. Damn.
6.) Watch You Walking (Matthew Sweet - Pal Shazar) - 2:57 rating: **** stars
Judging by the three collaborations with Shazar, you can only wonder why they didn't do more together. Another tune with a great melody, slightly dark vibe, and another album highlight.
3.) Pretty Please (Matthew Sweet) - 2:32
As reflected in 'Pretty Please', Sweet is such an overlooked guiatrist.
Rating: 4 stars ****
Title: Tomorrow Forever
Company: Honeycomb Hideout
Country/State: Lincoln, Nebraska
Grade (cover/record): NM/NM
Comments: sealed copy
Catalog ID: 31100
2017's "Tomorrow Forever" was a sad testament to the state of American music in that Matthew Sweet was forced to fund it through a crowd funding platform. At the same time, there was a certain degree of comfort in realizing Sweet easily managed to attract enough money to complete his thirteenth studio album. The $50K funding goal for the album was secured by mid-2014, but release of the album was repeatedly postponed beyond the initial 2015 goal as Sweet struggled with finalizing the final track listing. Sweet originally recorded a stunning 38 songs, but space constraints forced him to down select to 17 performances. Released on his own Honeycomb Hideaway label, with Sony handling distribution, the final result was a17 song, double album set.
Under the title "Tomorrow's Daughter", twelve of the remaining 21 tracks were sent to Kickstarter supporters as a gift for their financial support.
With Sweet credited with writing all of the material as well serving as producer and engineer, the resulting mixture of power pop and garage rock offerings made for the strongest thing Sweet had recorded since "Girlfriend". Clocking in at slightly over an hour, unlike most double sets that are round out by filler, this set was simply awash with riches. To my ears at least thirteen of the seventeen performances were worth repeated spins. In the interest of full disclosure, there was nothing particularly ground breaking in these grooves. Instead of pushing new creative boundaries on tracks like the glistening opener 'Trick', the should've been a top-40 hit 'Music For Love' and the equally impressive 'Pretty Please' Sweet seemed content to polish his now patented sound, using it as an opportunity to trot out some of the best material he'd penned in a decade. The combination of power pop moves, delicious harmonies (check out 'You Knew Me' to hear how to turn harmony vocals into a weapon), and his criminally overlooked guitar was on display throughout. Sure, 'Country Girl' featured dobro and mandolins and could broadly be slapped with a country-rock label. Though I'm still not sure about the plotline, 'Off the Farm' reflected a palatable sense of anger that would have pleased Neil Young. 'Come Correct' wasn't exactly a disco tune, but it was radio friendly and if you were going to dance to a Sweet song, it would have been a good choice. From a practical standpoint the biggest problem with the album stemmed from the sheer amount of material. Like trying to eat a whole box of chocolates at one sitting, trying to take in all four sides at once was overwhelming and negated your ability to enjoy the individual musical nuggets. My suggestion - break the collection into two segments for the best listening experience. Bottom line - an impressive return to form from someone critics had largely written off.
Forever" track listing:
1.) Trick (Matthew Sweet) - 3:41 rating: **** stars
Opening up with blazing guitars sprawling out of both audio channels (Sweet in the left channel, Paul Chastain in the right), 'Trick' marked a return to Sweet's '90s commercial heyday. Sporting an awesome melody; to-die-for vocals and those thundering guitar chops (always loved the screaming sound Sweet gets out of his instrument), it was impossible to shake this one out of your head. interestingly, in concerts Sweet's introduced the song with the title 'Trick of the Light'. For anyone who doubted Sweet's live abilities, YouTube has a stunning May 2017 performance at radio station WFUV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xoaLJvcb9s
2.) Entangled (Matthew Sweet) - 2:44 rating: **** stars
Sweet mid-tempo tune with a lyric that could be about passing on to the next phase of life, or as someone suggested, it could be about particle physics. Regardless, it was a beautiful performance with some tasty lead guitar. "There's no telling what you'll see, who you'll be when you get to the other side ..."
3.) Pretty Please (Matthew Sweet) - 2:29 rating: **** stars
Rock is full of talented guitarist, but few manage to meld those chops with the joyous sense of melody Sweet brings to his work. The guy could set a restaurant menu to music and make it catchy. Love the keyboards and the way he sneered the refrain out. 'Pretty Please' was one of the album's stand out performances. Shame it was so short.
4.) You Knew Me (Matthew Sweet) - 2:51 rating: **** stars
Starting out with a touch country influence, 'You Knew Me' quickly shifted into one of the prettiest melodies Sweet has every written. Inspired by his late mother and the ups and down in their relationship, the plaintive multi-tracked backing harmonies "take me away, take me away" were simply stunning. Once you've heard the song, it's simply hard to shake it out of your head. No that's not a tear in the corner of my eye ... Wish this one had a longer playing time.
1.) Circle (Matthew Sweet) - 3:03 rating: **** stars
Short and sweet - a slice of jangle guitar paradise ... 'Circle' was a pounding tune with one glaring weakness - it ended too soon.
2.) Haunted (Matthew Sweet) - 4:21 rating: **** stars
One of the album's prettiest performances with some awesome twin guitar work; Valentine McCalumn on slide guitar.
3.) Country Girl (Matthew Sweet) - 3:46 rating: **** stars
After a side and a half of hard charging guitar rock, the laidback acoustic arrangement that opened 'Country Girl' was a pleasant change of pace. Loved the country picking, strumming mandolins and while the instrumental ending was slightly disjointed, it was lovely.
4.) Off the Farm (Matthew Sweet) - 2:40 rating: **** stars
Interesting that Sweet penned this one after moving his family from Los Angeles back to Nebraska. 'Off the Farm' toughened up the vibe with lyrics guaranteed the song would never get airplay. I suspect Neil Young would have approved.
5.) Nobody Knows (Matthew Sweet) - 2:25 rating: ** stars
The first song that didn't strike a chord with me. 'Nobody Knows' sounded ragged and incomplete.
1.) The Searcher (Matthew Sweet) - 4:19 rating: *** stars
Propelled by Ric Menck's rock steady drumming, 'The Searcher' introduced a blues flavor into the mix. Love the refrain, but it would be interesting to know what the song was about.
2.) Music for Love (Matthew Sweet) - 2:43 rating: **** stars
Easily the album's most commercial performance, opening up with Sweet's patented jangle guitar sound and that voice, 'Music for Love' could have easily been mistaken for something off of "Girlfriend" or "100% Fun". With a chorus that just screamed top-40 radio, you had to wonder why nobody was paying attention.
3.) Bittersweet (Matthew Sweet) - 4:08 rating: **** stars
Another of the album's memorable performances, 'Bittersweet' was another beautiful mid-tempo ballad with a lyric that guaranteed it wasn't radio material. Not sure who the female singer was, but her performance meshed with Sweet as well as anything Suzanna Hoffs ever did.
4.) Come Correct (Matthew Sweet) - 3:28 rating: **** stars
Another commercial offering, I'm not sure I would every tag a Matthew Sweet performance as funky, but this one came close. Very radio friendly and would have made a great single if those still existed in 2017.
1.) Finally (Matthew Sweet) - 3:38 rating: *** stars
I've always love the "chunky" sound Sweet brings to his arrangements. That sound's front and center on the rollicking 'Finally'. Other than that, this one was an also-ran performance. Simply didn't stack up to the best of the collection.
2.) Carol (Matthew Sweet) - 3:37 rating: **** stars
Exemplified by 'Carol', Sweet continues to write some of the best hooks in the business. On the surface this one seemed like a pretty mundane rocker, but when the refrain and those harmonies kicked in it rose to a totally level.
3.) Hello (Matthew Sweet) - 4:54 rating: ** stars
Sweet double tacking his lead vocals? Was it just me, or did the results sound slight out of synch? This one was almost like a bad Todd Rundrgen number.
4.) End Is Near (Matthew Sweet) - 4:17 rating: **** stars
Wow, 'End Is Near' sported another pretty melody, but lyrically it was kind of a dark love song for a 53 year old ... As a 60 year old, I'll admit it's grown on me after a couple of spins.
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