Welcome to the latest edition of ‘Golden Vault’, where we delve into the annals of music to bring you a classic album. You’ll know some like the back of your hand and nothing of others. We hope to get you reacquainted with old friends and create new favourites. The album to be taken out of the Golden Vault for reappraisal this week is Matthew Sweet’s ‘100% Fun’
Seeing Toy Story turn twenty years old in 2015 was a bit of a reality check. It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. There have also been a lot of twentieth anniversaries for much loved and well known albums this year. It’s a wave of nostalgia to reflect on times gone by and simultaneously make you feel old. Quite a few of these albums get a lot of fanfare, but this Golden Vault is going to concentrate on one that went somewhat under the radar back then, but is no less a treasure. Matthew Sweet’s ‘100% Fun’ is that album.
Sweet is the auteur of some of the finest saccharine coated alt rock power pop you are likely to hear. It’s criminal that his music hasn’t gained wider recognition. while his third album ‘Girlfriend’ is rightly lauded, it was his fifth studio album ‘100% Fun’ that made a lasting impression on this writer.
It’s the finer detail that keeps you coming back to ‘100% Fun’ time and time again. Like the exact moment when the guitars crank in during, the subtle shifts in notes. There’s nothing obviously complicated and it’s easily absorbed. During Sick Of Myself every pitch and drop of notes is anticipated as it barrels along. Each repeat listen reveals unnoticed elements that yield further aural delights.
Not When I Need It and We’re The Same induce daydreaming. You lose yourself to the jangly guitars and rattling cymbals to the fore of the production that’s notably brasher than on previous albums.
The lush balladry of Everything Changes and I Almost Forgot harks back to halcyon days of ‘Girlfriend’ while Super Baby is the most jet-fuelled track on the album. They provide the alternating contrasts that make sure the album doesn’t become samey.
Sweet has an eminently likeable everyman voice, whose quality lies in the fact that he never has to strain it in order to get his point across. There is no need for vocal histrionics anywhere. It’s all about the song where the individual elements have to be perfectly in sync.
Every now and again, there is the random thought as to why nobody makes this style music as good as this anymore. Then it’s overtaken by the simple idea of just going back and listening to ‘100% Fun’ again.