Matchbox Twenty – Yourself or Someone Like You
Record Label: Lava / Atlantic Records
Release Date: October 1st, 1996
About four years ago, I got cable television for the first time in my life; I was 15-years-old, and I remember the first thing I watched on TV was a VH1 countdown on the top 100 songs in the 90s. One of those songs was Matchbox 20’s “3 AM.” They played clips of that track and it was fantastic. I also heard on there that it was about frontman Rob Thomas’ mother going through cancer when he was a teenager, and that certainly tugged at my heartstrings. That was a very emotional song with a lot of meaning behind it. For whatever reason, I never checked the band out, despite really digging that song. My chance came in the summer of 2012 when I bought a copy of the band’s debut record (with “3 AM”) Yourself or Someone Like You. When I bought it, I listened to it a few times, but really put it aside after a week or so, because other music came out that I was into much more. Sadly, I wish I didn’t, because this record is amazing. I finally decided to listen to it more and I’m so glad I did. The biggest thing that this record has for me is lasting value – it’s turning 17-years-old this year, and that says something when this record and band is still relevant today. In fact, the band did release a new record last year entitled North and it was received very well. Yourself or Someone Like You is the record that started it all, however. It definitely shows why this band is still relevant today, and the lasting value on it is through the roof, so to speak.
The record begins with “Real World,” and no, it’s not about the MTV show of the same name. I would hope not, at least. Immediately, Rob Thomas’ vocals take control of the song, and I love his voice quite a bit. He does have that rather “grungy” vibe, but the accompanying instrumentation is alterative/pop-rock, which is pretty cool. His voice is unique, regardless. This song also is a great opening track, because it demonstrates what makes the album great, but that’s not to say that every song sounds the same. That’s not true whatsoever, but this song is a great opening track because it immediately takes off. Lyrically, Rob Thomas is a great writer; while his lyrics aren’t terribly thought provoking, they’re great, nonetheless. They must be, especially if the lyrics on this record are still relevant today, 17 years later. Anyway, second track “Long Day” is a bit more quiet, because it begins with an acoustic guitar, but does pick up thirty seconds in. I love the chorus of this song, though, and it’s a great song to listen to when you have a long day, too. Third track “3 AM” is easily the most well recognized song on this record and probably of their whole discography. I mentioned this in the beginning, actually. The most interesting thing is, this is probably my favorite on the record, aside from a few others, though. One of my other favorite tracks is fourth track “Push.” This song is really interesting to me because of its lyrics; the chorus talks about pushing a girl around and taking her for granted, almost glorifying mistreating a girl, while the verses talk about a girl who’s been through a lot, and who never has been truly loved. It’s a sad song, because I can’t help feel for that person. Fifth track “Girl Like That” is one of the more “generic” tracks on this record, I guess, because the lyrics are rather generic, obviously. This song is enjoyable, but it really doesn’t do anything for me, really. The same goes for sixth track “Back 2 Good.” It’s the longest song at about 6 minutes, but in all honesty, it drags on a bit to me.
The next half of the record is quite enjoyable, but not as memorable as the first half of the record, sadly. It’s memorable, and a few songs do stand out very much, but the problem is just that there isn’t a lot of variety. There’s some, but a lot of the songs end up running together and sound quite similar. As a whole, the record is brilliant, but individually, the tracks do run together. Seventh track “Damn” is a really interesting song, too, and it’s also quite catchy. Aside from that, it’s not the most memorable song on the record, but very enjoyable, nonetheless. Another track that stands out quite a bit ninth track “Kody.” This song is really cool because it tells a story about a guy named Kody, and I love the lyrics on this song, really. This is a slower, too, and it’s much more somber than a few other songs on here. It kind of has that somberness that “3 AM” has, but it’s a bit slower in terms of its tempo. Tenth track “Busted” really strays from the somberness and even the slowness. This is a more rock track, and it’s pretty cool, actually. It’s a bit more aggressive and Thomas’ vocals are a bit more “grungy,” I guess. The last two tracks, though, are totally the opposite; “Shame” is a very somber track that lets Thomas’ vocals really shine. The acoustic guitar is the backbone, essentially, because it’s not as loud, which does leave Thomas room to really shine, like I said. Last track, “Hang,” does follow this somber pattern, but it’s a great song to end on, and in fact, lead guitarist takes the reigns of lead vocals on the track, which is really cool, because it works so well.
This record is a great piece of 90s nostalgia, essentially. Even if you didn’t necessarily grow up in the 90s, like myself, because I really remember the late 90s/early 00s, this is still a blast from the past, essentially. It does take you back to that time, and the lasting value on this record is huge, because it’s still relevant 17 years later, which I absolutely love. This is a great record, regardless.