Cradlesong CD (2009)

Artist: Rob Thomas

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Product Overview

Cradlesong, with Matt Serletic again in the producer's chair, was forged in a creatively charged atmosphere. "I built a studio in my basement, so a lot of these songs started with a drum beat," Rob Thomas says. "Up until this point in my life, everything had been written on acoustic guitar or piano, and I'd have to wait until I got into the studio and hear musicians get on it. Now I could have a good drum groove, get some guitars going, and then from that, Matt could hear it closer to how I was hearing the song."

"I like musical hybrids," says Thomas about the direction of cradlesong. "Like, 'What would it sound like if we took Prince's drummer and mixed him with really amazing Nashville players?' I like to take everyone just left of their comfort zone and record it." One early point of reference was Paul Simon's seminal "Rhythm of the Saints." "I wanted to find a new way to do something that felt like it had an urgency to the groove."

The result is a percussive rock record that pulses with passion and energy. Vibrant guitars collide on songs such as "Fire on the Mountain" and the power pop gem "Give Me the Meltdown," horns bolster the bouncy "Wonderful," while electronic programming propels the dynamic "Real World '09." The title track is the sole ballad on an otherwise up-tempo set. "'Cradlesong' is in there because it's really a mellow tune," says Thomas. "It's kind of a 'calm down, everything is going to be all right' song."

The album's first single, the kaleidoscopic "Her Diamonds," is the most personal song Thomas has yet committed to disc. Rob's wife Marisol is courageously battling an autoimmune disease, and "Her Diamonds" was written "about a couple dealing with that on a day-to-day basis," explains Thomas. "There's an incredible amount of sadness that comes with something like that. There are moments where I think I flirted with a thinner personal line than I've ever done before, but, really, I'm writing a song about how people deal with hard times, and that hard time is universal, that hard time can be anything."

Track Listing
1. Her Diamonds
2. Gasoline
3. Give Me The Meltdown
4. Someday
5. Mockingbird
6. Real World `09
7. Fire On The Mountain
8. Hard On You
9. Still Ain't Over You
10. Natural
11. Snowblind
12. Wonderful
13. Cradlesong
14. Getting Late

Specifications

Label Atlantic/q Records
SKU 211208893
UPC 075678968129
UPC 14 00075678968129
Format CD
Release Date 6/30/2009
Links
Author Rob Thomas
Artist Bio
Rob Thomas"I don't want to make the same record over and over again. I not only want to represent lyrically where I'm at as a person today, but stylistically I want to represent the time that I'm in. I'm 37, which is different than 30, and which is different than 25. It's a much different time in my life and I wanted the new record to reflect that. cradlesong doesn't sound like anything I've done before, and I think that's important."Given Rob Thomas's stature as one of modern music's most compelling and commercially successful artists for well over a decade -- between Matchbox Twenty, his solo work, and his various collaborations with iconic artists like Santana and Mick Jagger, his tally now stands at more than 80 million albums sold worldwide -- it's easy to let the charts and numbers overshadow the essential reason he's come so far in the first place. As he says with typical understatement, "I'm a guy who hears songs in his head, and I have to write them down, and I have to get them out. I'm just lucky enough that I can make it my life's work."Arguably the most accomplished singer/songwriter of his generation, for Rob it all comes back to the creative source. "I have to separate the idea of what I do for a living versus what I do. Songwriting is the only thing that makes sense to me. Years of doing it helps, but the truth is that the reason you do it for years is because it's what you do. It's the only thing that I have that kind of shorthand on...I don't know cars, I don't know sports, and I'm not a math whiz. This is something that I look at and it just makes sense to me."Making sense of his musical inspiration is what Rob Thomas does at an exceptionally high level. "It's a two-part process -- there's inspiration and craft. The inspiration is the part that's completely magical and you have no responsibility over. The inspiration is when you're sitting in your car or in a room and you hear a melody. You love it, it sounds great, and then you realize that it doesn't exist yet in the world, that it's a melody you just came up with. That's a process that you can't be responsible for. The minute you start to claim ownership of it, you lose it. To paraphrase a quote from Quincy Jones, 'the moment that success leads you to say, "I'll take it from here, God," that's when God walks out of the room.'"And as for the craft? "You have those moments when you are in full service of the feeling and you carry it as far as it takes you. And when that feeling stops, you put it away and at some point you have to go back and work on it. You say, 'OK, this is where the inspiration took me, now what was it I was trying to say, where was it I was going? It's this unbelievable process that when you're done with it, every time you do it, for a second you feel like the most unbelievably creative person in the world, and then it goes away and you feel like you're never going to do it again...and you have to start all over again. So you keep trying to get that feel, that high off of creating, that place that carries you from a blank page where nothing existed to a song that people are singing back to you at Madison Square Garden, if you're lucky. That's where the magic is."
Reviews
ReviewSource All Music Guide
Review Listening to cradlesong, the second album from Matchbox Twenty singer/songwriter Rob Thomas, it's hard not to think of him as a man out of time, making big music for a world of miniature niches. Thomas makes music as if it was the turn of the millennium, when there were cross-demographic radio formats and stores to goose sales to diamond status, traits that still serve him well when he's constructing sonic skyscrapers, even if the results don't necessarily feel at home in the modern skyline. With its urgent hooks and surging sincerity, cradlesong is recognizably Thomas' work, right down to its lower-case typography, but with the assistance of longtime producer Matt Serletic he's tweaked the formula of his 2005 solo debut Something to Be in judicious ways, using his worldbeat inflections as an underpinning instead of flair, something that ties the album together even when it lends the album a self-conscious sobriety that's a bit oppressive, despite Thomas' enveloping hooks. Still, those hooks go a long way toward opening up a somewhat hermetically sealed album, a record built on careful details in its productions and lyrics, a record constructed with discipline and eager to be taken seriously. This dogged sense of purpose does result in a tighter, better record than Something to Be and even it's not a lot of fun, it's not meant to be: it's big music about big issues, even inflating personal issues to the universal. If it seems somewhat out of step with its year, that almost makes Thomas' somber, determined craft admirable -- he's doing this not because it'll give him a hit but because he believes in it.
ReviewDate
ReviewPage
Reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine
ReviewRating 7
Product Attributes
Artist Thomas,Rob
Label Atlantic/q Records
Music Format Compact Disc
Quotes
Jody Rosen, Rolling Stone Magazine There is plenty of unexpected texture to keep your ears engaged.
Jon Regen, Billboard ...a soaring collection of infectious pop songs that are destined for heavy rotation in 2009 and beyond.

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