Reissued and Revisited: Matthew Sweet

100% Fun [Intervention Records]

Jul 19, 2018 By Frank Valish
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Throughout the Summer and Fall, Intervention Records has planned a vinyl reissue campaign highlighting Matthew Sweet's trilogy of 1990s power pop masterpieces: 1991's Girlfriend, 1993's Altered Beast, and 1995's 100% Fun [along with the Son of Altered Beast EP, which was never released on vinyl]. The first of these reissues is the last of these albums, 100% Fun, mastered from the original master tapes and pressed on ultra-quiet 180 gram vinyl along with an extra disc containing seven bonus tracks.

Conventional wisdom has it that 100% Fun is the weakest in the trilogy, relatively speaking, with Girlfriend and Altered Beast boasting untouchable status as master works from top to bottom. That said, 100% Fun contains both some of Sweet's biggest melodies and also some of his most nuanced compositions to date. "Sick of Myself" and "We're the Same" remain two of Sweet's best known songs, fan favorites when played live to this day. But where 100% Fun is most rewarding is where its darker and more introspective moments are not masked by arena-sized melody, where Sweet exposes himself both lyrically and musically to his inner conflict.

"Everything Changes" finds Beach Boys-like harmonies and Richard Lloyd's mournful guitar solo echoing Sweet's disappointment in lyrics like, "You look for the answer, then pull it apart/Tear it up 'til there's nothing left, 'cause it hurts your heart." The haunting rock of "Walk Out" adroitly complements the lyrics, either honest or sarcastic, advocating for the protagonist's change. Immediately following, the gentlest and most heart wrenching song on the album, "I Almost Forgot," has Sweet singing of lost love over piano and mournful pedal steel: "If love leaves us for a moment, is it gone forever?/Make up your mind." And closing the album, "Smog Moon" is a brilliantly intricate look at aging and the apprehension, abandonment, resignation, and questioning that comes along with it. Add to these the Byrds-ian guitar ring with Dylan lyrical nod advice column of "Get Older," and its blazing Lloyd guitar solo, and mantra "Who cares?," and 100% Fun stands strongly aside Sweet's two previous albums, proving itself ripe for reissue.

As for the additional LP of extras, while these things are typically slathered on CD reissues without discrimination for quality, Intervention's reissue adds only the essentials. "Sense of Adventure" and the beatific "Slowly," previously only available on the Japanese release of 100% Fun, are included. Also here are three demos from 1994, an alternate mix of "Walk Out," and an outtake, all which add substantially to the album proper. Each of these songs easily could have been included on 100% Fun and warrant repeated listening.

Intervention Records prides itself on the sound and packaging of its products, and the sound quality and overall listening experience of 100% Fun is second to none. It's about time this album be revisited; Intervention's set should be obsessed over.

(www.interventionrecords.com)

 

 

 



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ninadordev
August 4th 2018
5:16am

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August 9th 2018
12:12am

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