Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend [LP]
Personnel includes: Matthew Sweet (vocals, guitar, bass); Greg Leisz. Matthew Sweet had been around for a number of years before captivating fans of great pop with this masterpiece. Whereas his early works had hinted at his ace songwriting chops, subsequent releases were never this cohesive, and often were marred by over-the-top production and a lack of a sure sense of identity. On GIRLFRIEND, everything came together. The mix has just the right amount of crunch and texture, and masterful accompaniment from the likes of Robert Quine and Richard Lloyd (guitarists from seminal punk-era groups the Voidoids and Television respectively), provides an incisive, much-needed edge that perfectly plays off Sweet's easy vocal style. More than anything, though, the songs carry the day. The title track, "Divine Intervention," "Evangeline," and several others have the earmarks of perfect post-Beatles pop: soaring hooks, great arrangements, and impassioned playing. There are some down-and-dirty garage sounds on tracks like "Does She Talk," and elsewhere the mood is leavened by gentle, eloquent ballads like "Winona" (about a certain "little movie star"), "Your Sweet Voice," and bittersweet acoustic snapshots like "Thought I Knew You.