, 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."
1. Her Diamonds
3. Give Me The Meltdown
6. Real World `09
7. Fire On The Mountain
8. Hard On You
9. Still Ain't Over You
14. Getting Late