Album includes gems old and new

Matchbox Twenty is a group that has been known since the late ’90s for providing catchy lyrics and a versatile style. Debuting with 1996’s acclaimed Yourself or Someone Like You, the band has stood out thanks to front man Rob Thomas’ distinct voice and a sound that is rarely repeated.

After releasing two successful albums in the new millennium, the band has released a retrospective double album, Exile on Mainstream, which features their hits on one disc and six new songs on another. A special version of the collection is also available in MVI format, which includes exclusive content such as retrospective photo galleries and interviews accessible on the Internet.

One trait that has always been noticed in Matchbox Twenty is its ability to make catchy songs about negative topics. The track listing on the disc with their hits exemplifies this. Take the song that most people think of when they think of Matchbox Twenty: "Unwell." Their biggest hit (it was the second most played song on the radio of 2003 according to Billboard) features a mellow melody and Thomas characteristically discussing negative, but realistic situations. "Feeling like I’m headed for a breakdown / And I don’t know why / But I’m not crazy / I’m just a little unwell / I know right now, you can’t tell."

While Thomas tackles mental sanity (or the lack thereof) on this song, the topic of "Disease," my favorite Matchbox Twenty song, is another type of sickness: the ill effects of love. Thanks to a distorted guitar heard on the intro, the frantic mood of this classic is set, and Thomas paints the picture of love gone wrong in the first verse: "feels like you made a mistake / you made somebody’s heart break / But now I have to let you go / I have to let you go." This song, the lead single from the 2002 album More Than You Think Are, was co-written by Mick Jagger, and features memorable lyrics throughout, but especially near the end. Partially assisted by back-up singers, Thomas explains: "I got a disease, deep inside me / Makes me feel uneasy, baby / I think that I’m sick / But leave me be while my world is coming down on me."

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