Matthew Sweet decides to write a masterpiece. “Girlfriend” also helped to make power pop radio friendly again. Matthew Sweet loved The Beatles (who doesn’t? Everyone should). I think he was aiming for “Revolver”.
Let us start at the beginning. My beginning. Well not “the” beginning but close. I was raised Catholic. Went to Catholic grade school (best uniform colors ever…Yellow and Brown) (Really?). Not that that mattered much. Fashion was not really my thing. It’s not now and it definitely wasn’t then. Fast forward to 1991. Me in College. I was growing up (kinda) (some would say I still have a long way to go). Learning a thing or two and questioning. So this religion thing…is quite fucked up I was finding out. How the hell does someone believe all these things? Which was odd as I choose a Jesuit College. I will have to add the new Pope, rocks. There is hope.
Whoa…can we finally get to song one? That previous paragraph is a bit important as it’s background on how and why “Girlfriend” resonated with me. I was a college kid who grew up Catholic and is now pretty much fully recovered.
Song 1. “Divine Intervention” was a lovely Modern Rock dirge. It played with “god” as subject matter but only in a minor religious way. Tongue slightly in cheek. I could get behind the feeling. The longing. The “luck” of a god. The “why do good things happen to bad people” etc (and the opposite) (and yes it’s STILL happening – yes I’m looking at you Trump). You work your ass off and get nothing or worse…fired. You know what I’m talking about. I’m not ugly but nor am I the best looking guy. Girls/women didn’t throw themselves at me. I had to work…or wait for “Divine Intervention”. Hey I was in college…most things came back around to the opposite sex. Or soccer. Or music. Or beer.
The interplay (and overlaying) of guitar and the doubling up (and overlaying) of Sweet’s vocals were magic to my ears. Now this was an album I could get behind if this was the introduction tune. Here comes the Sunshine…Here it comes…
Oh and I loved the “fake” ending. And I also hate “radio edits” that leave that bit out. Plus I told you before that was a thing. I miss that. I really do. Also Hidden tracks. All of it. Good “Revolver” start boys.
Song 2. Mid tempo rocker. Anime is everywhere now a days…not so much back in ’91. So this video stood out (as did Girlfriend) (which was first). You can hear the REM influence. Another bonus in my book.
Song 3. This was why you bought the CD. So if you glance back up at the “intro” to this post…this was the song Matthew wrote about his divorce. Well obviously not about the divorce but the post divorce hook up. Great first line. Great guitar. Supposedly this song came in to the studio complete. Those are usually the best songs, right? As if they came from on high into the songwriters head. Dare I say Divine Intervention?
Later they released a bonus disc with a 3 song ep. Turns out “Girlfriend” started out as “Good Friend.” I believe it was the label that asked for the change. Both work. I may like Good Friend a bit better. Maybe.
The Album was originally called “Nothing Lasts” (it’s the last song on the album). They wanted to use a photo of 50’s actress, Tuesday Weld, for the cover art. Tuesday wasn’t sure she wanted her photo on an album called “Nothing Lasts”. I get that. I also get why Sweet called it that. Divorce. Record company dropping him. Everybody is right. Wow, that doesn’t happen many times.
Song 4 and 5. Slow things down again. I love the tunes but I’m really into flow (listen to a NEXT show and I would hope you get that flow-y feeling). I think Sweet could have re-ordered the album to make it flow a bit better. Maybe not. Also Song 5 is supposedly named after but not about Winona Ryder. I don’t buy that.
Song 6. Back to a rocker. And comic books. Damn Mr Sweet was into comics. Song 6 is written as Johnny Six from the comic book “Evangeline”. This was also right up my alley, lyrically, as a recovering Catholic.
Also I know most of you bought this on CD but if listen there’s the sound of a vinyl out groove on this tune. It’s the end of side one. A brilliant side of music (wouldn’t mention flow again).
Side 2. Hey, wait a second. I bought this on CD. There’s no Side 2. What up with that?
Song 7. Listen for the vinyl needle again. Duh because you had to flip the vinyl and drop the needle.
Song 8. This is where side 2 starts for me. Anytime a lady/woman/girl broke my heart (well after 91)…this song was played. I love the mandolin that comes in around 2:05.
Wow I’m getting personal with you on this album. Welcome to me. And you are still here. Thanks (I think).
Song 9. Flow, man. Flow. I would think this should have played in front of song 8. You have a broken heart…”I thought I knew you” was perfect. Not too slow. Not too acoustic…Songs 10, 11, and 12 are in the wrong order too. Me thinks. What did I say about mentioning flow? My bad. Can’t help myself.
AND HERE IS WHERE THE ALBUM ENDS…or does it?
Song 13. What the hell is this? After the last five songs this one is out in left field. And Sweet has said that the record company wasn’t really paying close attention and Sweet added these 3 songs on 90 seconds after the album ended (hidden tracks, baby). A free EP basically. A “fun” freak out tune.
I hate when they take channel 23 off the air…
Song 14. Welcome back to the whole “what the fuck god?” Holy War is a good rocker.
Song 15. The title track. The original title track.
91 is 25 will continue. Way too many great albums to cover.
We started with Pearl Jam. Added U2. Still want to cover Metallica, Nirvana, SRV, REM, Pixies, RCHP, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and so many more. Many, many more. I told you 1991 was a crazy glorious musical year. I know I wouldn’t finish before 2017 but I’m going to continue calling the posts “91 is 25”.