Jul 3, 2009

Rob Thomas - Cradlesong

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Rob Thomas (lead singer of Matchbox 20)
Album: Cradlesong (sophomore album)
Release Date: June 30, 2009
Tracks: 14 (with bonus tracks depending on where you buy it)
Runtime: 52:34

Track Breakdown:

1) "Her Diamonds" - The first single of the album and is painfully lacking emphasis where you expect it. Maybe more energetic when played live, but as far as the album version goes, if you compare it to "Lonely No More" from his first album there's a definite lack of passion. Not an awful song, in fact quite artistic with its lyrics and its African instrumental background, but not worth the hype around it. 3 1/2*'s out of 5.

2) "Gasoline" - Another decent but nothing extraordinary track. I like the chorus, but there's nothing that's going to make me scour the internet to find this song to listen to. 2 1/2 *'s.

3) "Give Me The Meltdown" - Better than Her Diamonds in the energy department, but really lacking lyrical subtlety and deepness. A generous 3 1/2 *'s. Maybe worthy of some romantic-comedy soundtrack, but not even up to par with How Far We've Come off the last Matchbox 20 album.

4) "Someday" - If Nickelback were to reject a song, and Enrique Iglesias stepped out a time machine from the turn of the century, this is the bastard child that you find before you. No subtlety. Too preachy. Trying too hard with its tone lacking any real compassion, flow or emotion. 1*.

5) "Mockingbird" - A song with an actual meaning to it and some real punch behind it. It was lacking in certain areas that could have made it a great song, but thus-far, the only thing I'd like to listen to off the album again. 4 1/2 *'s.

6) "Real World '09" - Obnoxiously poppy and peppy. Even the music doesn't know what's going on. We go from a child's song of steady drums and light guitar to a heavier, darker, almost electronic sound, and then random acoustic riffs thrown about. I'll be generous and give it 2 *'s since kids might enjoy this one in the car, but I have to say that it's because of songs like this that ADHD is so rampant.

7) "Fire On The Mountain" - Very dark and cynical in the same vein as How Far We've Come, and definitely the hardest rocking song on the album. Unfortunately it's SO tribal that it becomes hard to relate to if you or your near-ancestors were not living in a shack made of bamboo or teepee's. 4 *'s.

8) "Hard On You" - Nothing breathtaking, but a pretty decent song with a pretty decent message. The rhyme scheme occasionally strikes as Dr. Seuss however, and if I could quote the first verse perhaps I'll be better understood:
"You're the best thing I ever knew
You do everything that I can't do
Sometimes I get lost in my blue
Please forgive me if I'm hard on you
Please forgive me if I'm hard on you"
Ehhhh... I'll give it a 3 1/2 *'s for effort.

9) "Still Ain't Over You" - There's kind of a James Bond kind of feel to it. This is definitely the best track on the album, but unfortunately, I have a strong sensation it will receive no radio play or promotion. Consider it the hidden gem of the album that you can be proud of should you buy this mediocre album. 5 *'s.

10) "Natural" - Very folksy yet dark toned. Kind of like Riders On The Storm by The Doors. Lacks some lyrical depth again though, like it was rushed onto the album to make it meet the time requirement. 3 *'s.

11) "Snowblind" - Both preachy and bland, resembling the cracker your fed as the flesh of Christ. Picks up in areas due to some actual vocal delivery by Thomas, but only enough to elevate its track status as 2 *'s.

12) "Wonderful" - Innovative for its use of trumpets but the surprisingly good vocal delivery from Thomas doesn't match up with the music. The hodgepodge hurts it, but it's still seemingly strong enough for a 3 *'s.

13) "Cradlesong" - Some simplistic acoustic work that really makes you sway your head. Thomas delivers some good vocal work in this track as well, but the lyrics are lacking. A decent but struggling 3 1/2 *s.

14) "Getting Late" - A very decent song that's inexplicable in its near-perfection. I can't put my finger on why this track works, but it does for the most part. 4 *'s.

My Highlights: "Still Ain't Over You", "Mocking Bird" and because of its innate ability to grow on you like a fungus, "Her Diamonds".

Overall Rating: 3 1/4 *'s, which means feel free to buy. There aren't a lot of flops on the album, but at the same time, there isn't a lot earth quaking either. If you're a big fan of Matchbox 20 you might want to get a hold of this album so in ten-twenty years when Matchbox 20 or Rob Thomas get a true best of album, there might be some songs from here on it, but it certainly won't be anything that will bring in new fans.

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