Jun 18, 2012
It's been five years since Matchbox Twenty's last studio album, and in the interim, singer Rob Thomas has had his own chart-topping solo career. So, despite some 28 million records sold across three multi-platinum albums, a string of hit singles, and fan demand for the band's return to active duty running hot, fully restarting the band still remained in question. However, they are now finally back and the result is Exile On Mainstream: six new songs overseen by Steve Lillywhite, marking the renowned Grammy-winning producer's first work with the band, combined with a collection of 11 Matchbox Twenty smashes. "We look at it as a new EP with a greatest hits attached to it," Thomas says. The new songs represent a major shift for the band: on their past three albums, Thomas wrote most of the material, with the other group members usually adding their parts later. This time, drummer-turned-guitarist Doucette, guitarist Kyle Cook, and bassist Brian Yale were included from the start.
The first single, "How Far We've Come," merges apocalyptic lyrics and frenetic, building rhythms. Doomsday has never sounded so good. "There's no reason it can't be sexy," laughs Thomas about the end of the world. The other new tracks - including the darkly humorous "I'll Believe You When," the driving "All Your Reasons," the R&B-leaning "I Can't Let You Go," the jangly "If I Fall," and the heartbreaking ballad "These Hard Times" - share a lyrical leanness that allows them to cut quickly through the sonic atmosphere. When not working on the new material, the band selected the 11 songs for the greatest hits portion - which they decided to present in chronological order to trace the band's musical evolution. The result is one of those rare greatest hits sets that really is all greatest hits - every song was a chart-topping single, and every one has a companion video. Included are such smashes as "Push," "3am," "If You're Gone," "Bent," "Disease," "Unwell," "Real World," "Back 2 Good," "Mad Season," and "Bright Lights." The album's title pokes good-natured fun at the group's tremendous popularity, while playing off of the classic Rolling Stones album "EXILE ON MAIN STREET." "There's a sense that somehow a band like us should be apologetic for making music for the masses," Thomas says. "But I think it's great that we can hit a chord that means something to us and means something to someone else. That's really what it's all about."
So, unexpectedly but happily for everyone, the members of MATCHBOX TWENTY are now focused on their future together. The band is looking forward to its first tour in four years, along with the prospect of a full album of all-new material down the line.