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The members of Matchbox 20 has always been lovers of power pop, but their music didn’t always reflect that bent. Too often, they tried to exist in both pop and rock simultaneously. While they’ve certainly been successful, sometimes they sounded a bit unfocused.
However, with new single “She’s So Mean,” MB20 has shot an arrow straight at a power pop target and hit a bullseye. With its handclap intro and catchy guitar refrain, “She’s So Mean” is an ear worm waiting to invade your brain and not let go for the rest of the year. The song is redolent of ‘70s power pop—that territory that Fountains of Wayne has mined so successfully— yet it never sounds overly retro. Listen to it here.
The production is deceptively simple, but each drumbeat, every little yelp by Rob Thomas, only makes the song more seductive. Plus, hasn’t everyone had the one person who you can’t let go no matter what he or she does? “Every now and then she makes you a little bit crazy/she’ll insert a knife in your back and then she’s calling you baby.” Who’s the crazy one?
It’s been 10 years since Matchbox 20 has put out an album of all new material (2007’s “Exile on Mainstream” combined old and new tunes) and it seems like the time away has done them good. The Matt Serletic-produced song, the first single from “North,” sounds deliberate in the band’s commitment to pop. There’s no line straddling, no trying to be something they aren’t.
“North” comes out in September.