A Sweet Return
Despite the rather ominous-looking album cover featuring a placid girl dressed up in what can only be described as a jester’s outfit and full clown makeup, Matthew Sweet’s newest record, Tomorrow Forever, is upbeat and in no way menacing. The album, which will be entirely funded by Kickstarter, a method that is being used by other musicians like Amanda Palmer and De La Soul, is Sweet’s first release in seven years and is filled with power pop and catchy hooks.
Sweet is no stranger to the music world and was an essential member of the Athens, Georgia music scene. He first began his career as a bass guitarist for the cover band The Specs. Soon after, he met and collaborated with R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe with their band Community Trolls, as well as with his sister Lynda Stipe and her band Oh-OK. During the late ’80s, he began his solo career and debuted with his album, Inside, but gained critical success with Girlfriend. He boasts an impressive discography, with thirteen solo records.
On Tomorrow Forever, Sweet returns to his distinctive sound and drenches the seventeen-track album in dreamy, new wave pop. The catchy “Trick” kicks off the LP, followed by the R.E.M.-sounding “Entangled.” It is one of those songs that would be a perfect track to use in a movie as the main character drives off and the camera stays in one place while the car gets smaller and smaller in the distance. “Country Girl” is a more reserved, twangy tune that serves as an interlude between prominent guitar riffs and melodies. “Music For Love” and “Circle” are perfect combinations of folk rock and new wave. The longest song, “Hello,” begins with Sweet singing falsetto, which he continues for the duration of the track, as clear harmonies sing in the background.
The entirety of the record is stocked with signature Athens pop, but every now and then the listener catches quiet, little gems that show Sweet’s musical and artistic capabilities and his importance within the pop community.