Don't Play With Matches (Forbidden Records)
By: Alex Steininger
Now known as Matchbox 20, Tabitha's Secret shows an early version of the band that has gone on to mega-success. A little more folk and soft pop, this album includes two early versions of the smash hit "3 a.m.," as well as ten other tracks.
Going into this CD I didn't know what to think. I'm not a big Matchbox 20 fan, actually they annoy me. It just seems everywhere I turn there they are. Once I realized that their song "3 a.m." was on here, I got really scared. I'll admit it, if you hear something enough you're bound to start picking it up and tossing it around in your head. After hearing "3 a.m." so much I can't help but sing along with it when it comes over the airwaves, hits MTV, or dare I say....comes through my stereo! Since that is in the open I have a confession to make. Even though the version on here is significantly different, once I put this in my player I was instantly singing along. The foundation is the same, but here you'll find a better percussion section and nicer guitar work. As for the second version of "3 a.m." on this CD, it has a few minor adjustments, like the addition of an organ, and is just as catchy as the opening version. There I admit it, it's very catchy. As for the rest of the material on this disc, they just didn't have the bite and hooks that "3 a.m." does. With two exceptions, "Paint Me Blue" and "Dear Joan." Both these numbers were pleasurable. The first was very easy to hum, soft and cozy, and seemed to have a lot of emotions swarming around in it. The second, "Dear Joan," was a more classical pop number, very slow and soft. Deeply personal, it's stripped-down sound relies on mostly rain drops of guitar through the song, giving it a very sad undertone. Just listening to it I wanted to cry. But I love songs that are so powerful that they can bring tons of emotions to the surface.
Overall, this disc wasn't bad. Even the songs that couldn't meet the pop sensation that "3 a.m." provides, they were well composed and had some good parts to them. Although not something I would put in and listen to if I wasn't preparing to review it, there were times when I was slightly intrigued by the music. I'll give this CD a B-.
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