A few years back, rock critic Chuck Klosterman listed Matthew Sweet as one of the most accurately rated (as opposed to over- or underrated) artists in rock history, saying, “Every Matthew Sweet album has only one good song, and that song is utterly perfect.” As examples Klosterman listed “Sick of Myself,” “Girlfriend,” and “Where You Get Love.” He’s right about those songs, but he’s wrong about the albums — Sweet’s filler is better than most artists’ singles. And his best albums have little or no filler.
The buzz on Sweet’s new album Sunshine Lies, his tenth, is that it’s a power-pop masterpiece. And it is. The only problem — if it is a problem — is that a number of Sweet’s albums could be described the same way. Sweet is such a master of a certain kind of guitar pop song — ’60s-flavored but with modern production values, featuring a wild guitar solo and beautiful vocal melodies concealing depressing lyrics — that it’s easy to take him for granted.
In the years since his early-’90s commercial heyday, even Sweet himself has sometimes seemed a little bored by his solo career. He’s taken up work as a producer, helped create music for the Austin Powers movies, and formed two different supergroups, one with Bangle Susanna Hoffs and another with singer-songwriters Pete Droge and Shawn Mullins. He’s also taken up pottery, and, judging by his website, he’s as excited about that as he is about music. Still, Sunshine Lies does not sound at all like the product of someone who has lost the passion to create great music — it’s the work of an artist rediscovering some of his strengths, working at the peak of his power.
- Monday, August 25, 2008, 8 p.m.
Belly Up Tavern,
143 S. Cedros Avenue,
$20 - $22