Something to Be [DualDisc]

( 5 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
As frontman of Matchbox Twenty, Rob Thomas proved himself a pop tunesmith whose songs, including the hit "Push," were crowd-pleasing if not always memorable. But his solo debut, the surprisingly ambitious Something to Be, showcases the most confident Thomas since his breakthrough, "Smooth" with Carlos Santana. Fans of Matchbox's straightforward guitar-rock won't find a lot of it here -- aside from "Ever the Same" -- but the slinkier, more soulful replacement parts are every bit as appealing. The disc has no shortage of simple, catchy tracks -- like the Latin-tinged "Lonely No More" -- that come decked out in crisply pressed settings. Thomas kicks the intensity up a few...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
As frontman of Matchbox Twenty, Rob Thomas proved himself a pop tunesmith whose songs, including the hit "Push," were crowd-pleasing if not always memorable. But his solo debut, the surprisingly ambitious Something to Be, showcases the most confident Thomas since his breakthrough, "Smooth" with Carlos Santana. Fans of Matchbox's straightforward guitar-rock won't find a lot of it here -- aside from "Ever the Same" -- but the slinkier, more soulful replacement parts are every bit as appealing. The disc has no shortage of simple, catchy tracks -- like the Latin-tinged "Lonely No More" -- that come decked out in crisply pressed settings. Thomas kicks the intensity up a few notches on tracks such as "I Am an Illusion," which uses a vintage Bessie Smith sample as its hook and a Robert Randolph lap steel turn to complete the reel-in process. The title track is similarly up-tempo, with Thomas getting in touch with his inner Joe Cocker, but Something to Be doesn't ignore the singer's way with a power ballad, as evidenced by the intimate "When the Heartache Ends." To his credit, Thomas has found a way to stretch his boundaries without pushing fans to work too hard to keep up -- which makes Something to Be something to hear.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Since Matchbox Twenty is a faceless group, recognizable for its hits rather than its image, it's easy to assume that the band is nothing more than a solo project in disguise for its frontman, lead singer and chief songwriter Rob Thomas (who should not be confused with Rob Thomas, the creator of UPN's 2005 cult TV series Veronica Mars). Not only is he prominent in the band's videos and press, but he scored the biggest hit of his career with "Smooth," a song he penned and sung for Santana's 1999 comeback, Supernatural. Even though Matchbox Twenty's 1996 debut, Yourself or Someone Like You, was a big hit and spawned four radio hits, "Smooth" was bigger than any of them, making Thomas famous, if not exactly a star. Instead of striking out for a solo career in 2000, he returned to his band, releasing Mad Season that year and More Than You Think You Are two years later. While both records had different moods -- the former was polished and radio-ready, the latter hit a little harder -- both found Thomas working as part of a unit, not as a flashy frontman. This may have illustrated how Matchbox Twenty worked as a band; in particular, More Than You Think You Are sounded like the work of a driven, cohesive unit, even the songs weren't quite up to snuff -- but they also had to sound a little workmanlike, and certainly not the product of the savvy cross-cultural crossover creator of "Smooth." Given the relatively lackluster reception of More Than You Think You Are, the timing was right for Thomas to launch his official solo career in the spring of 2005. It was time to give his music a new coat of paint, similar to how "Smooth" spun his career in a different direction, and that's exactly what his solo debut, Something to Be, is: a slick new variation on Thomas' signature sound. With its anthemic choruses and achingly sincere sentiments, Something to Be is clearly the work of the lead singer/songwriter of Matchbox Twenty, yet it lacks the lean rock-oriented sound of the group's albums, even if it is helmed by Matt Serletic, who has produced all three of the band's records. Serletic and Thomas have made a conscious attempt to have this solo album feel lighter, brighter, and a little hipper than Matchbox Twenty's music, adding slight drum loops and electronic elements to the rhythms while taking Thomas away from strictly guitar-based arrangements. Heavy on keyboards, elastic guitars, horns, insistent rhythms, and even the occasional gospel-inspired backing chorus or worldbeat inflection, this is a far splashier affair than the average Matchbox Twenty album, and that alone would make Something to Be a noteworthy solo record, since it is indeed a different beast than Thomas' regular gig, but the fresher sound is married to a strong set of songs that play to his strengths as a craftsman of big, anthemic post-alternative mainstream rock. This isn't edgy work by any means -- and for as hooky and chorus-driven as it is, it's music that becomes memorable through repeated plays, never quite catching hold upon the first listen -- but it's more colorful and well-constructed than a lot of contemporary mainstream rock in the mid-2000s, and it's arguably more appealing than Matchbox Twenty's earnest guitar rock, which can occasionally seem rather drab. With Something to Be, Thomas delivers an album that is at once familiar and fresh. It may not be something to win over the doubters, but it's enough to give him a promising new beginning to the second decade of his recording career, not unlike how "Smooth" helped propel him through the post-grunge fallout of the new millennium. [Something to Be is one of the first albums to be released solely as a DualDisc -- a disc that contains a CD of the album on one side and a DVD of the album with extras on the second side. The DVD contains a 5.1 mix of the album, lyrics for the 12 songs (these lyrics are also printed in the album's booklet), a link to Thomas' website, a plug for his charity Sidewalk Angels Foundation, a photo gallery containing nine photos, and a 20-minute making-of-the-album documentary that contains footage of Thomas writing, Thomas singing a lead vocal, John Mayer recording his cameo, and, finally, a photo shoot with Thomas.]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/7/2009
  • Label: Atlantic
  • UPC: 075679343529
  • Catalog Number: 93435
  • Sales rank: 4,659

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Rob Thomas Primary Artist
Harley Allen Background Vocals
Pat Enright Background Vocals
Brandon Fields Saxophone
Gordon Gottlieb Marimbas, Bells
Gary Grant Trumpet
Benjamin Herman Marimbas, Bells
Jerry Hey Trumpet
Frank London shofar
Wendy Melvoin Guitar
Joe Passaro Marimbas, Bells
Jeff Trott Guitar
Matt Serletic Keyboards, Background Vocals
Mike Elizondo Bass
Gerald Heyward Drums
Kyle Cook Guitar
Reginald Young Trombone
Matt Beck Background Vocals
Kevin Kadish Guitar
Eric Poland Marimbas, Bells
Heitor Teixeira Pereira Guitar
Hasan Isakkut Kanoon
Technical Credits
Jimmy Douglass Engineer
Jerry Hey Horn Arrangements
Bob Ludwig Mastering
Jay Newland Engineer
Gary Paczosa Engineer
David Thoener Engineer
Rob Thomas Composer
Norman Moore Art Direction
Ria Lewerke Art Direction
Matt Serletic Composer
Michael Lippman Management
Pontus Winnberg Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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(4)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2011

    Definitely a must!

    I don't usually rate a lot of things, but this CD is worth the effort! I purchased it when it first came out and have loved it ever since! I saw RT in concert on this tour, and he was fantastic. I saw him again this past summer, and he sounds amazing in person just as on his CDs. You won't be disappointed! All of the songs on this CD are excellent!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great CD!

    I bought this for my son and he loves it! I need to buy one for myself so I don't keep taking his.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2010

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