Something to Be

Something to Be

4.3 19
by Rob Thomas
     
 

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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 …  See more details below

Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

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:
02/01/2011
Label:
Imports
UPC:
0075679343420
catalogNumber:
928050
Rank:
201564

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rob Thomas   Primary Artist,Piano,Vocals
Anita Ellis   Background Vocals
Mike Campbell   Guitar,Soloist
Harley Allen   Background Vocals
Pat Enright   Background Vocals
Brandon Fields   Saxophone
Gordon Gottlieb   Marimbas,Bells
Gary Grant   Trumpet
Jonathan Haas   Marimbas,Bells
Benjamin Herman   Marimbas,Bells
Jerry Hey   Trumpet
Hassan Isikkut   Kanoon
Frank London   shofar
Wendy Melvoin   Guitar
Joe Passaro   Marimbas,Bells
Jeff Trott   Guitar
Dan Tyminski   Background Vocals
Matt Serletic   Keyboards,Background Vocals
Mike Elizondo   Bass,Bass Guitar
Gerald Heyward   Drums
Kyle Cook   Guitar
Dan Willis   Duduk
John Mayer   Guitar
Reginald Young   Trombone
Robert Randolph   Lap Steel Guitar
Matt Beck   Background Vocals
Kevin Kadish   Guitar
Cassidy   Background Vocals
Eric Poland   Marimbas,Bells
Greater Anointing   Background Vocals
Heitor Teixeira Pereira   Guitar
Anika Ellis   Background Vocals
Hasan Isakkut   Kanoon

Technical Credits

Craig Anderson   Authoring
Spencer Chrislu   Director
Jimmy Douglass   Engineer
Jerry Hey   Horn Arrangements
Jay Newland   Engineer
John O'Brien   Programming
Gary Paczosa   Engineer
David Thoener   Engineer
Rob Thomas   Composer
Norman Moore   Art Direction
Ria Lewerke   Art Direction
Mark Dobson   Engineer
Matt Serletic   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
David Dieckmann   Authoring
Jan Smith   Vocal Coach
Greg Collins   Engineer
Henrik Jonback   Composer
Gillian Grisman   Director,Producer
Pontus Winnberg   Composer

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Customer Reviews

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Something to Be 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is wonderful. No two songs sound the same. "All That I Am" has such beautiful instruments on it. I love the track "Problem Girl." This album shows how talented Rob Thomas is a singer and songwriter.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really love this cd! Rob Thomas definetly proves he can handle the solo act was grace & poise! All of the songs have their own meaning and personality! I bought the cd with great expectations and then were definetly exceeded! "Lonely no More", is still my favorite song but it's really hard to choose the second runner up! All of the songs are incredible and the dvd on the opposite side of the disc is really cool too! The dvd has great behind the scenes footage including John Mayer! Buy this CD!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
An avid fan of Matchbox Twenty, I had great expectations of this CD, and of course, Thomas far surpassed them all. My favorites are Problem Girl, This Is How A Heart Breaks, My, My, My and All That I Am. I can tell that this CD will be playing non-stop this summer and for a long time afterward.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a serious fan of Matchbox Twenty, I have 2 copies of the three albums they've released, as well as studio and live albums from Tabitha's Secret, their former band name. With this album, I feel like the band is really needed. The lyrics are standard Rob Thomas quality, but there's a lack in musical quality that I've grown to expect after the last two albums. Thomas' lyrics and the music carried the first album, and the music was really the highlight of later albums. But in this one, Thomas' lyrics don't seem as original, and the music isn't there to back it up. So give it a try if you're a fan, but don't expect anything outstanding or exceeding MB20.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A HUGE fan of Matchbox 20, I couldn't wait for Rob Thomas's solo debut. Unfortunately, I found this cd to be too pop-ish, instead of the richer alternative rock of Matchbox 20. Instead of the clean, powerful sound of drums, guitars, and keyboard that Matchbox 20 had, Something to be was over-crowded with too many other instruments. Though some of the songs on this cd are entertaining and catchy, most of them are just a disappointing mockery of Matchbox 20.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a huge Matchbox 20 fan and i was really looking forward to this album. And it is great, all the songs on the album are fantastic and i like the fact that they all have a different feel to them, no two tracks sound the same. Rob Thomas proves that he is one of the greatest singer/songwriters out there today. Unlike many others, his songs sounds real and honest. My favorite track on the album has to be the last track Now comes the night, it is without a dout one the most beautiful songs ever written. I can not recommend this album enough...go buy it..come on...i mean it..buy it now..
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love Matchbox twenty, have every album, played them until I knew almost every word. And now, to hear Rob Thomas in this new capacity is seriously excellent. His voice is so strong, the music is nicely varied, and the cd is my new favorite. It has something for everyone, and there is not one song on there that I didn't love. Just my opinion...but you need to hear him on this!
Guest More than 1 year ago
First, I'm a huge MB20 fan; however, what has always distinguished MB20 from other MOR rock artists are Rob's lyrics and vocals. And in that context, Rob has exceeded my expectations. I adore this album. I hate to classify music, but if I must, this is not a "rock" album. There are certainly a few songs that rock, "Something To Be," "I Am An Illusion," and "Fallin To Pieces" but many of the other songs vary greatly. I hear a little country, funk, pop-rock, worldbeats. The album is all over the place. There are some gorgeous ballads..."My, My, My," "Ever The Same," and "When The Heartache EndS." My advice, listen to the album clips. If you like diversity in your music, this album is probably for you. If you only want a rehash of MB20's guitar-driven rock, you might want to pass. I give Rob an A+ for thinking beyond MB20. He's a legend in the making which there aren't to many of in today's music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD will do well. Rob Thomas first came to my attention when a friend of mine told me about him - that he had been in Matchbox 20. When I heard him, I was very interested. I love this guy's gritty voice in When the Heartache Ends. And the sweet sounds of All That I Am and My My My - very nice. I think Street Corner Sym. reminds me of Van Morrison and it makes me want to dance! Love it! This ones a keeper! Anyway, in my opinion, a worthwhile buy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this cd, the song lonely no moe is such a great song, and so are the rest!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a good cd, but some of the songs I don't really care for. What songs I do like are #'s 1,2,4,6,9,and 11.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've been a fan of Matchbox 20 ever since Mad Season came out. I was thrilled to see Rob Thomas spread his wings with Carlos Santana on "Smooth". Imagine my surpirse when I heard "Lonely No More" and started liking it. Out of all the of the tracks I have to say my favorite is "This Is How A Heart Breaks" something about the crunchy guitars that just appeals to me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this cd is good. i like it. i also like squirells. they are cute. and cudley. i saw one yesterday. it was fun to look at it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD has blown me away. I love every song!!! They are all different in so many ways. I love his voice, his lyrics and the music. I can't enough of his CD, I am wearing it out. I hope he continues to make wonderful music in the future.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You can say without a doubt that Rob Thomas was the heart of Matchbox 20 because even though this is his solo album, it doesn't differ all that much from his previous ones which he did with the group. "This is how a heart breaks" is a very upbeat and full of guitar riffs song which fits Matchbox's style. You can say the same about the soft and addressed to female audience for its content "Problem girl". The songs that make Rob to stand out from his Matchbox 20 style are "All that I am" for it's exotic melodies that make you feel like you've been taken on a magical journey to the Middle East or Asia and "Ever the same". The title track "Something to be" is definitely a song that shouldn't go unnoticed. But the two songs that make the album extra special are "Streetcorner symphony" for its groovy melody that makes you smile and dance (plus if you watch TV and like "Grey's anatomy" you definitely couldn't skip hearing that song) and "Now comes the night" which is an extremely touchy piano-only song that can make you squeeze a tear or two because it treats about the love that lasts all life until dying day. All songs of the album are special and add to its greatness. I very much recommend it without any hesitation to every music lover!!! It's simply a must-have!
Guest More than 1 year ago
rob thomas's musci is totally awesome. the best song in my opinion is "ever the same" it is so meaningful. i highly recommend this cd
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