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Rob Thomas - Something To Be


Review: Jack Foley

HAVING achieved considerable success as lead singer of Matchbox 20, one of America's most successful rock bands of the past decade, Rob Thomas has decided to venture into solo territory to challenge his own boundaries.

The result is something as accomplished as you might expect from someone who was also responsible for writing and singing on Santana's multiple Grammy-winning hit, Smooth, in 1999.

Yet as good as it is in places, the album doesn't really sound as brave or defiant as it thinks it is, seldom straying from the sort of sound that helped Matchbox 20 achieve such success.

Opening track, This Is How A Heart Breaks, maybe an upbeat introduction, but it sounds fairly generic and isn't anything groundbreaking.

While ballads such as Now Comest The Night and When The Heartache Ends come across as a little over-earnest, no doubt inspired by his time working with the likes of Mick Jagger and Bernie Taupin.

The album is much better when it doesn't take itself seriously, as in the sassy funk of debut single, Lonely No More, which could easily double as a Ricky Martin number.

The brooding I Am An Illusion features a great bassline and some angry sentiments that find Thomas at his most feisty, while the lyrics of Ever The Same clearly emerged from the singer's period of personal struggle and provide a fascinating insight into the difficulties he faced.

Better still, is the atmospheric All That I Am, which slow-builds into an epic anthem for the singer, complete with some Eastern rhythms, orchestral drums and haunting backing vocals from Greater Anointing.

It is quickly followed by the breezy Problem Girl, which follows some terrific guitar work and one of the more catchy choruses.

Fans of the distinct vocals of Thomas will no doubt embrace the singer's new material but while Something To Be certainly contains its fair share of highlights, there's plenty of scope to develop further as an artist in his own right.

You can probably pick the singles off this one.

Track listing:
1. This Is How A Heart Breaks
2. Lonely No More
3. Ever the Same
4. I Am An Illusion
5. When the Heartache Ends
6. Something to Be
7. All That I Am
8. Problem Girl
9. Fallin' To Pieces
10. My My My
11. Streetcorner Symphony
12. Now Comest the Night

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