Sweet’s Girlfriend must be a common law wife after 20 years

The 20th anniversary of Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend is upon us. I heard about it while listening to this week’s installment of J’s Indie Rock podcast and immediately felt old and yet super hip since that means I was listening to the album when I was 11! The later is so much more satisfying since when I was a wee little girl and listening to this, nobody new what in the hell I was listening to and why I didn’t like Stone Temple Pilots. Ha. I win. Stone Temple Pilots still suck and this album is still great.

Step with me into the way back machine and revisit this album, not from a critical perspective per say (there are plenty of “critics” out there to split songs into little pieces) but more like a walk down memory lane with an old friend.

“Divine Intervention” – 5:37 – I always thought it was weird to have a song seemingly so religious on the surface opening a rock album. Now it feels more like an anthem for the lost and directionless. A common struggle of the 20/30 something’s to figure out what in the world they are supposed to do and the lack of will to make a choice and shake some action. Just waiting for divine intervention to take care of what you cannot.

  1. “I’ve Been Waiting” – 3:36 – super happy power pop at its best. I used to imagine he was singing to me… my “teen idol” crushes were typically not teens or idols but rather older unknown musicians.  
  2. “Girlfriend” – 3:40 – the video I must have watched at least a thousand times. Truly a classic that will probably never get its due recognition.
  3. “Looking at the Sun” – 4:16- such a gorgeous song. The only thing I would change, and this stems from a long running conversation with my bother about harmonies. When the lead singer does all their own harmonies, they aren’t as full or unique as they could be. Sometimes it just falls a little flat.
  4. “Winona” – 4:59 – usually skipped this one and was always jealous of Winona Ryder who the song was rumored to be about.
  5. “Evangeline” – 4:45

— The needle hitting the album noise before Day for Night is a perfect little pause, providing atmosphere to the album

“Day for Night” – 2:55 – My favorite track on the album.

  1. “Thought I Knew You” – 2:57 – gotta love when the bitterness comes out after a breakup, especially when it comes out as a gem of a song.
  2. “You Don’t Love Me” – 5:21 this track and the next are more classic breakup songs
  3. “I Wanted to Tell You” – 4:30
  4. “Don’t Go” – 3:24
  5. “Your Sweet Voice” – 3:54 – This could have easily been on the Thorns album and almost feels like the initial idea for the Thorns that just took a while to come to fruition. 
  6. “Does She Talk?” – 3:27 – Second favorite on the album. Down and dirty, well, as down and dirty as Mr. Sweet gets. Sexy swagger with self edited lyrics… “I can _____ you up the _____. You can _____ me up the _____. Alight.” When I was 11 I had no idea what filled in those blanks and now that I am 31, I’m still not so sure what verb and what noun would work for both a man and a woman… maybe I am just not using my imagination. I will leave it to you to play dirty Mad Libs with this one.
  7. “Holy War” – 3:25
  8. “Nothing Lasts” – 3:33 – Heartbreaker. This song was my go to for many years when I was looking for a song to convey general glum over a crush. Note to self –  best breakup songs playlist.

Quote from Entertainment Weekly  “People say, ‘This is your big breakup record – will you still be able to write good songs?’ I’m sure I’ll be just as depressed at some other point in my life.”

 

 

 

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