Review Summary: Matchbox Twenty come out swinging.
The year was 1996, and post-grungers Matchbox Twenty hit it big with their debut album, Yourself or Someone Like You
. With 12 million copies sold, it wound up being the ninth-biggest selling debut album of all time, and it's easy to see why. With its catchy hooks, thoughtful lyricism and great instrumental work, Yourself or Someone Like You
is a great debut album by a band that would later go on to be one of the biggest pop-rock bands of the next decade.
The album's six singles are the first six songs on the album, including four Top 40 hits, two of them peaking in the top five. Opener "Real World" kicks off the album with its infectious guitar riff, unique and relatable lyrical matter and catchy chorus of "I wish the real world would stop hassling me". "3 a.m.", written by frontman Rob Thomas about his mother's battle with cancer during his childhood, is the most recognizable hit from the album. It was the album's highest-charting single, peaking at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. With a catchy chorus, and a guitar riff that is ensured to be stuck in your head for days, "3 a.m." is one of the best songs on the album. “Push”, the second-biggest hit of the album, tells the story of a man in a relationship being both physically and emotionally abused by his girlfriend, with its powerful chorus of “I wanna push you around, well I will”.
The second half of the album is easily weaker than the first, with a few throwaway and filler tracks. "Argue" features boring verses and a weak vocal performance by Thomas. The last thirty seconds sees a sudden increase in energy and passion, but by then the song has already gone to waste. "Damn" gets repetitive quickly, repeating the titular phrase several times in the verses, along with a repetitive chorus that rhymes "nothing at all" with itself thrice, and “Busted” is built upon an irritating guitar riff and an annoying vocal performance by Thomas.
Luckily, after those tracks show a dip in quality, we get "Kody", the highlight of the second half of the album. A heartfelt and sentimental ballad about depression and alcoholism, “Kody” shows the more personal side of Thomas’ lyricism, with plenty of emotion in his vocals. “So please hand me the bottle, I think I’m lonely now / And I don’t feel nothing”, he croons, weaving the tale of melancholy and sadness into a wonderful song. Closer “Hang” is an acoustic number with a powerful and emotional chorus that goes “And we always say, it would be good to go away, someday / But if there's nothing there to make things change”. “Hang” closes the album on a somber but hopeful note, ending a brilliant album with a brilliant song.
Yourself or Someone Like You
is a great debut album by a band that would go on to bigger and better things. There are lots of famous Matchbox songs on this album, including two of the band’s biggest hits. Although there are some throwaway tracks in the second half of the album, there are enough highlights spread around the rest of it to make up for the filler. This was Matchbox’s heaviest album, and a great listen to fans of pop-rock and post-grunge.