NEW YORK — More than a decade has passed since the last Matchbox Twenty album, so, fans can be forgiven for thinking it was the end of the line. That’s what Matchbox Twenty was thinking, too.
“We had pretty much come to terms that we didn’t think we’re ever going to make another record. We thought ‘North’ was the last record. Maybe we’d tour every few years, put out a song or two and kind of that’ll just be it,” says singer-songwriter Rob Thomas according to AP.
So fans can thank guitarist-keyboardist Kyle Cook for “Where the Light Goes,” the band’s 12-track album of new music — the first since 2012 — out this Friday. Cook floated the idea of giving fans who had waited through the pandemic a full album of fresh tunes.
As the album’s songs started coalescing, Thomas realized that they were on the sunny side, with nods to the ’80s throughout, like Peter Gabriel, T’Pau, Go West and Level 42. It was turning out to be a post-pandemic record, one of exuberance.
“We weren’t making a downer record. We weren’t making a pandemic record, and we weren’t making a cynical record,” he says. “This was a record about joy and optimism.”
From the opening song “Friends” — a bubbly, sing-along celebration — to the soaring, romantic “One Hit Love,” “Where the Light Goes” is a sunny collection from a band Thomas jokes “almost invented ’90s manufactured angst.”
The album’s second song, “Rebels,” nods to that change, with Thomas looking back at a younger man’s fire. “When you get angry with yourself/You blame the rebel that you sold out/Let go and be yourself right now.”
Thomas, whose signature growl fueled such hits as “Push” and “3AM,” explains that he’s gotten to the point in his life when it’s OK to pass the torch, that he doesn’t always need to be raging or worried that he sold out.
“I posit that that rebel inside of you is tired,” he says, laughing. “He’s raged on against the dying of the light, and now he would just maybe blog about it. Dude, you’ll be fine.”
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