5 April 2005
| April 5, 2005 (2005-04-05)|
Pop rock, Alternative rock
Cradlesong, The Great Unknown, Yourself or Someone Like You, More Than You Think You Are, Exile on Mainstream
...Something to Be is the debut solo album from the Matchbox Twenty lead singer Rob Thomas. The album was released on April 5, 2005, and it debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart, knocking out Mariah Carey's The Emancipation of Mimi. This marked the first time that a male artist from a rock or pop group has debuted at number one with his first solo album since Billboard introduced the chart 50 years ago.
The album spawned the U.S. top ten hit "Lonely No More". It also features John Mayer's guitar on the single "Streetcorner Symphony". The album was released in the DualDisc format, the first major album to be released that way. The album itself is certified Platinum by the RIAA in the U.S. and consists of several types of sounds, including dance, pop, Latin, rock, and country, although it can be generally classified as closer to pop than to the rock music of Matchbox Twenty's third studio album, More Than You Think You Are. The album was supported by his 2005–06, Something to Be Tour.
The album cover, as well as the title, bears some resemblance to ...But Seriously, a 1989 album released by Phil Collins.
Reception for ...Something to Be was mixed. David Browne of Entertainment Weekly said Rob Thomas "sounds less like his usual tortured self and more like a boy-band veteran who still knows a thing or two about a grabby hook" and noting that the single "Streetcorner Symphony" sounds like "the world's greatest Black Crowes parody — until you realize Thomas is completely serious". Browne also commented that the album "doesn't always snap and crackle the way that single ("Lonely No More") does". Daniel Garrett of The Compulsive Reader gave the album a positive review, complimented several of the songs and described Thomas' voice as "pleasant, intense, and yet a bit impersonal". He also said the single "Streetcorner Symphony" was upbeat with the elements of rock, rhythm and blues, and jazz and that it reminded him of Elton John.
Lindsay Whitfield of Soul Shine Magazine also gave the album and some of the its songs a positive review (four stars), saying the album is "one of the finest, most unique albums of 2006 so far" and Thomas belts out "musical perfection to the road trip worthy". Thomas Inskeep of Stylus Magazine gave the album a negative review ("C" rating), calling it "mediorce" and explaining that the large part of the problem was that "Rob’s a fairly generic songwriter". Inskeep continued by saying he is "one of the most processed-cheese-and-Wonder-bread guys around" and Thomas had "hopelessly clichéd lines" on the song "Ever the Same".
Kevin Forest Moreau of Paste gave the album a positive review, saying his debut solo album "certainly sounds different from the adult-alternative diet-rock of Matchbox Twenty-at least half the time". Moreau complimented the "punchy horns and a few electronic flourishes" for being on songs such as "Streetcorner Symphony". However, he criticized the "ponderous poetics...and platitudes" for being mistaken as depth. Paul Lingas of avrev.com called the album "a mixed bag with some surprisingly good offerings and some duds that sadly aren’t surprising" (giving the performance a 5.5 and the sound 6.5), complimenting some of the songs but also calling them "background music". He noted that Thomas "does not have a good singing voice". Although he also called his voice very distinctive and strong, he said "too often it is not suited to the surrounding music". Lingas finished by saying that Thomas' voice is not always well blended with the other sounds and that the mixing is "poor" and producing decisions are "sometimes odd".
1This Is How a Heart Breaks3:51...Something to Be Wikipedia
2Lonely No More3:47
3Ever the Same4:17