Altered Beast (album)

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Altered Beast
MSweet Altered.jpg
Studio album by Matthew Sweet
Released 13 July 1993 (1993)
Recorded January – February 1993
Genre Alternative rock, power pop
Length 57:32
Label Zoo Entertainment
Producer Richard Dashut and Matthew Sweet
Matthew Sweet chronology
Altered Beast
Son of Altered Beast
(1994)Son of Altered Beast1994
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Entertainment Weekly A–[2]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[3]
Village Voice (3-star Honorable Mention)[4]

Altered Beast is the fourth album by alternative rock musician Matthew Sweet. It was released on Zoo Entertainment in 1993.


Some of the album's guest musicians included drumming by Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac), Jody Stephens (Big Star) and Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello's backing band, the Attractions), guitaring by Richard Lloyd (Television), Robert Quine (Voidoids) and Ivan Julian (Voidoids), keyboarding by Nicky Hopkins,[5] and fiddle by Byron Berline on the lead single, "The Ugly Truth".


The cover of the album, produced in five different colored versions (yellow, blue, green, orange and purple), features a dinosaur logo. Originally, Sweet wanted to use the logo of the Japanese delivery company Yamato Transport on the cover, but was denied permission; Sweet has described the dinosaur design as a "consolation prize".


Initial responses to the record were mixed, with Rolling Stone writing that it had "inspiring moments; the problem is finding them."[5] AllMusic agreed that the album is "all over the place", yet noted that "it takes a bit of time for all of it to make sense, but after a few listens, it falls together." [6]


The title of the album is based on the arcade game, Altered Beast. Sweet has declared the title meant "whatever is inside you that someday might explode, and maybe you don't know it's there", which he found similar to the game, where "you have to find these little power-up things, and when you eat them you become the Altered Beast, this other creature that's really powerful and violent".[7]

The track, "Intro", is a clip from the Malcolm McDowell film, Caligula.[8]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Matthew Sweet; with the exception of Track 8, "Intro" excerpts from the movie "Caligula".

  1. "Dinosaur Act" - 4:05
  2. "Devil with the Green Eyes" - 4:43
  3. "The Ugly Truth" - 3:18
  4. "Time Capsule" - 3:56
  5. "Someone to Pull the Trigger" - 3:55
  6. "Knowing People" - 4:25
  7. "Life Without You" - 2:18
  8. "Intro" - 0:46
  9. "Ugly Truth Rock" - 2:58
  10. "Do It Again" - 3:33
  11. "In Too Deep" - 3:54
  12. "Reaching Out" - 4:00
  13. "Falling" - 4:50
  14. "What Do You Know?" - 4:27
  15. "Evergreen" - 4:23 (5:50 track length includes a hidden outro track)

Music videos[edit]

  1. *The Ugly Truth", directed by Matthew Sweet
  2. *Time Capsule", directed by Douglas Gayeton (Satellite Films)


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Aaron, Charles (1993-08-06). "Altered Beast". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2017-11-20. 
  3. ^ Stone review
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (18 January 1994). "Consumer Guide". Village Voice. 
  5. ^ a b O'Connor, Rob: Review: Matthew Sweet - Altered Beast, Rolling Stone, July 17, 1997.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Kelly, Christian: King of Pop, Spin, September 1995.
  8. ^ DeRogatis, Jim: Matthew Sweet Sours on Success, Chicago Sun-Times, June 20, 1993.