Music: North by Matchbox Twenty

I think I've finally heard all the songs on this album. I have not, however, sat down and listened to the album from start to finish, which is usually how I do things. I'm not sure why I haven't felt compelled to do this with North.

In any case, keep this in mind as I go over the songs here. Because I do like the album (mostly, as Cartman would say), but I also get the sense it's the kind of record that works well—if not better—when listened to straight through.

Because I haven't listened to it in order, my sense of the songs are a jumble, and I'm relying on online information to tell me the actual track order. Does "Parade" really open the album? It sounds more like an ending than a beginning to me. I like the song well enough, but always assumed it was somewhere near the end.

"She's So Mean" is, of course, the big radio hit. It's catchy and kind of dumb, and my kids think it's about me. But at least we can all dance around the living room to it.

I wrote more extensively about "Overjoyed" in another post, and I'll admit I haven't gone to watch the "official" video yet, but I do like the song now, though I didn't at first.

Okay, "Put Your Hands Up." Something about this song screams old-school Richard Marx to me. And I like Richard Marx . . . Or I did. When I was a pre-teen.

"Our Song" and "How Long" are tied for my favorite on this album. "Our Song" sounds like something that could have been on Thomas' solo album Cradlesong. "How Long" has an old Hall and Oates vibe. Somehow I can respect that more than the Richard Marx thing.

Okay, but I've skipped over "I Will" and "English Town." I'll start with "English Town," which was the first song from North my iPod pitched at me. I was like, What the hell is this now? But I have one of those nifty cars that tells me the song and artist my iPod is playing, so that answered that. Kind of. I didn't like "English Town" the first time I heard it, but it grew on me. Maybe just because of my overriding love of England. But really, the tune is rather haunting. It captures a sense of England in the rain in the plinking of the piano.

As for "I Will," I'm less of a fan. It's a pretty, sweet song but does little for me on the whole. (As we all know, I'm not sentimental enough for such a song.)

"Radio" is like an old J. Giles tune or something. I like the beat but think the lyrics are really stupid.

I don't like "The Way." It has a lack of flow, like starting and stopping in traffic.

"Like Sugar" I like. It's practically begging for a video treatment.

"Sleeping at the Wheel" is a solid finishing number. Except I have a couple bonus tracks: "I Believe in Everything," which sometimes gets stuck in my head (I don't mind, it's a good song that sort of harkens back to "Parade" in my mind, though I like this one a bit better than "Parade"), and "Straight for This Life"which vies with "Sleeping at the Wheel" for tone and aftertaste. And also reminds me a bit of "You Won't Be Mine" (from Mad Season).

I don't have "I Don't Wanna Be Loved" or "Waiting On a Train" so I can't speak to those.

So there. Now people who have been e-mailing me can stop because I've given you all my notes, such as they are. I'll admit it's mostly a sketch. Take it and do with it as you will.

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