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Girlfriend (album)

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Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 22, 1991
StudioAxis Studios and Battery Studios (New York City, New York).
LabelZoo Entertainment
Matthew Sweet chronology
Altered Beast

Girlfriend is the third studio album by American alternative rock musician Matthew Sweet. It was released on Zoo Entertainment in 1991.

The album was ranked at number 61 on Paste magazine's list of "The 90 Best Albums of the 1990s".[2]


Sweet recorded Girlfriend in 1990, following his divorce. He later said to Rolling Stone, "It's funny how the album ended up showing everything I needed to feel. Everything I needed as an antidote is there."[3] He told Entertainment Weekly, "People say, 'This is your big breakup record – will you still be able to write good songs?' I'm sure I'll be just as depressed at some other point in my life."[4]

The album includes guitar contributions from Richard Lloyd, formerly of the band Television, and Robert Quine. Michael Azerrad of Rolling Stone wrote of the sound: "Equal parts anguish and elation, the heavily autobiographical Girlfriend plays Sweet's impeccable pop sense of noisy, passionate guitar work, recalling the Beatles' Revolver, early Neil Young and Television."[3]

The album's production style was very stripped down and sparse, with wide stereo separation and no reverb used on any tracks. On some tracks, notably "Divine Intervention," the drums were highly compressed and panned completely to one side of the stereo spectrum, in a move reminiscent of George Martin and the Beatles.[5] The individual musicians' tracks were recorded whole in a few takes, with the notable exception of Quine's lead parts, which were pieced together from multiple takes. According to album engineer Jim Rondinelli, "Bob would get something going in the first couple of takes, and then he’d get really down on himself and go through this incredible self-loathing. On the fourth or fifth take, all this additional fire and anger would come out, and he’d take it out on his instrument. Then he’d be emotionally and physically exhausted."[5]

Album details[edit]

The cover of the album features a photograph of actress Tuesday Weld from the late 1950s.[6] Originally called Nothing Lasts,[6] the album was re-titled following objections to the title from Weld.[7]

The music video for the title track (which aired on heavy rotation on MTV, MuchMusic and Night Tracks) featured clips from the anime film Space Adventure Cobra: The Movie, mainly featuring the character Jane Royal. The video for another one of the album's singles, "I've Been Waiting", used clips of the Urusei Yatsura character Lum.[citation needed]

The tracks "Evangeline" and "Your Sweet Voice" were both followed by the sound of a vinyl outgroove and a phonograph needle lifting off a record, which was meant to signify the end of each side of the album as though it were an LP (thus making the final three songs on the album to be, conceptually, considered bonus tracks). The song "Winona" was named after actress Winona Ryder,[6] while "Evangeline" is sung from the point of view of Johnny Six from the comic book Evangeline.[citation needed]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Chicago Sun-Times[9]
Chicago Tribune[10]
Entertainment WeeklyA[11]
Rolling Stone[14]
Spin Alternative Record Guide9/10[16]
The Village VoiceA−[17]

Released in October 1991, Girlfriend is Sweet's most commercially and critically successful album to date, with The A.V. Club labeling it the best power pop album of the 1990s.[18] The album peaked at #100 on the Billboard 200 album chart.[19] The Village Voice, on their Pazz & Jop critics' poll, listed Girlfriend as the #7 best album of 1991.[20] The title track hit #4 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and #10 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. "Divine Intervention" hit #23 on the Modern Rock chart.[21]

In 2006, the album was remastered and released under the "Legacy Edition" label,[22] with three bonus tracks (originally released on the "Girlfriend" single, subtitled "the superdeformed CD", and also available on the Japanese version of the album), plus a second disc of home demos, live versions and session recordings called Goodfriend. Subtitled "Another Take on 'Girlfriend'", Goodfriend was a promotional CD partly distributed through Sweet's fan club, and was not commercially released until the Legacy Edition.[23] "Goodfriend" was the original name of the title track, but after early listeners universally misheard the lyric, Sweet changed the title to "Girlfriend".

In 2014, the album received a vinyl release on the Plain Recordings label. (This was not the first release in LP format, however. Classic Records' "Rock the House" label issued it on vinyl, as did BMG in the US in the 1990s.) The single 12-inch vinyl disc featured the first 12 songs, with six songs on each side. The vinyl sound effects were not added like they were on the CD.


In 2018, independent vinyl reissue label Intervention Records announced that it would be releasing Artist-Approved 2 LP Expanded Editions of 100% Fun, Altered Beast, and Girlfriend; the three albums will also be released on CD/SACD. Intervention also announced a first time on vinyl reissue of Son of Altered Beast.[24]

Theatrical production[edit]

A theatrical production entitled Girlfriend, inspired by Sweet's album, debuted in 2010 at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Berkeley, California.[25] The play was written by Todd Almond with songs from the album Girlfriend as well as subsequent Matthew Sweet albums.[26][27]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Matthew Sweet. Credit adapted from the original CD liner notes

No.TitleLead guitarLength
1."Divine Intervention"Richard Lloyd5:37
2."I've Been Waiting"Richard Lloyd3:36
3."Girlfriend"Robert Quine3:40
4."Looking at the Sun"Robert Quine4:16
5."Winona"Robert Quine4:59
6."Evangeline"Richard Lloyd4:45
7."Day for Night"Robert Quine2:55
8."Thought I Knew You"Matthew Sweet2:57
9."You Don't Love Me"Robert Quine5:21
10."I Wanted to Tell You"Robert Quine4:30
11."Don't Go"Robert Quine3:24
12."Your Sweet Voice"Matthew Sweet3:54
13."Does She Talk?"Robert Quine3:27
14."Holy War"Robert Quine3:25
15."Nothing Lasts"Robert Quine3:33
Total length:60:19
Legacy Edition bonus tracks
16."Good Friend" (demo)3:36
17."Superdeformed" (demo)4:09
18."Teenage Female" (demo)3:54
Total length:71:58

Track listing for Goodfriend[edit]

Goodfriend promotional album cover

All tracks are written by Matthew Sweet, except where noted

1."Divine Intervention" (acoustic) 3:05
2."Girlfriend" 2:52
3."Day for Night" (live) 3:21
4."Thought I Knew You" (live) 3:57
5."Looking at the Sun" (acoustic) 4:15
6."Does She Talk?" (live) 4:23
7."You Don't Love Me" (live) 6:47
8."Someone to Pull the Trigger" 3:53
9."I've Been Waiting" (live) 3:45
10."Winona" (acoustic) 4:30
11."Girlfriend" (live) 4:05
12."Cortez the Killer" (live)Neil Young6:28
13."Isolation" (acoustic)John Lennon3:01
Total length:54:22


  • Matthew Sweet – all vocals (1-12, 14), acoustic piano (1), electric rhythm guitar (1-4, 6, 7, 10-14), bass (1-7, 9-14), acoustic rhythm guitar (2-5, 8-11), electric guitar intro (6), acoustic lead guitar (8), electric lead guitar (12), vocals (13, 15, acoustic guitar (15), vocals and guitars [bonus tracks] (16-18)
  • Richard Lloyd – electric lead guitar (1, 2, 6), electric rhythm guitar (7), guitars [bonus track] (16)
  • Robert Quine – electric lead guitar (3-5, 7, 9-11, 13-15), electric rhythm guitar (4)
  • Lloyd Cole – electric rhythm guitar (4, 11, 12), acoustic rhythm guitar (8), electric tremolo guitar (11), guitars [bonus track] (16)
  • Greg Leiszlap steel guitar (3), pedal steel guitar (5, 9, 12)
  • Andy McCulla – guitars [bonus track] (18)
  • Ric Menck – drums (1, 2, 4, 11-13)
  • Fred Maher – drums (3, 5-7, 9, 10, 14), acoustic rhythm guitar (13)

Musicians (Disc 2)

  • Matthew Sweet – vocals, acoustic piano, guitars, bass
  • Ivan Julian – guitars
  • Amy Ray – guitars (12), vocals (12)
  • Emily Saliers – guitars (12)
  • Brad Jones – bass (3, 4, 6, 7, 11, 12), vocals (3, 4, 6, 7, 11, 12)
  • Paul Chastain – bass (9), vocals (9)
  • Pete Thomas – drums (2, 8)
  • Ron Pangborn – drums (3, 4, 6, 7, 11, 12)
  • Ric Menck – drums (9)
  • Scarlet Rivera – violin (4, 12)
  • Jane Scarpantoni – cello (7, 12)


  • Fred Maher – producer
  • Matthew Sweet – producer
  • Jim Rondinelli – recording, mixing
  • John Parthum – recording assistant, mix assistant
  • Dana Vicek – recording assistant, mix assistant
  • Scott Hull – editing, assembling
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering
  • Masterdisk (New York, NY) – editing and mastering location
  • Emily Morrison – project assistant
  • Lee Hammond – art direction
  • Dorrie Cheng – design
  • Michael Lavine – photography
  • Ken Galante – cover photography
  • Russell Carter Artist Management, Ltd. – management

Legacy Edition

  • Darren Salmeri – reissue producer
  • Steve Berkowitz – A&R
  • Jeremy Holiday – A&R coordinator
  • Joseph M. Palamaccio – mastering
  • Lisa Buckner – project director
  • Rob Carter – art direction, design
  • Michael Lavine – photography
  • Bud Scoppa – liner notes
Original "Goodfriend" credits (Disc 2)
  • Fred Maher – producer
  • Matthew Sweet – producer
  • Simon Askew – producer (2, 8)
  • Scott Byron – A&R
  • Bud Scoppa – A&R
  • Adam Askew – engineer (2-8)
  • Biff Dawes – engineer (3, 4, 6, 7, 11, 12)
  • John Walsh – engineer (9)
  • Jim Duncan – mixing (3, 4, 6, 7, 11, 12)
  • Jeff Park – mixing (3, 4, 6, 7, 11, 12)
  • Jim Rondinelli – mixing (9)
  • Emily Morrison – project assistant
  • Barry Levine – design concept


Chart performance for Girlfriend
Chart (1992) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[28] 82
US Billboard 200[29] 100


  1. ^ "79 Best Alternative Rock Songs of 1997". Spin. April 25, 2017. Archived from the original on August 12, 2019. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  2. ^ Jackson, Josh (February 24, 2012). "The 90 Best Albums of the 1990s". Paste. Archived from the original on January 4, 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Azerrad, Michael (November 28, 1991). "A New Girlfriend for Matthew Sweet". Rolling Stone. Available at Rock's Backpages Archived 2018-08-17 at the Wayback Machine (subscription required).
  4. ^ Entertainment Weekly, April 17, 1992.
  5. ^ a b Wyman, Bill. "Divine Intervention: How they made Matthew sound so sweet". Chicago Reader. Archived from the original on 2020-02-17. Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  6. ^ a b c Matthew Sweet talks about his excellent Girlfriend Archived 2012-03-30 at the Wayback Machine, a September 1992 article from The Tech
  7. ^ "Matthew Sweet Looks Back on 20 Years of 'Girlfriend'". 26 October 2011. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  8. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Girlfriend – Matthew Sweet". AllMusic. Archived from the original on November 26, 2015. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  9. ^ DeRogatis, Jim (June 20, 1993). "A Discography". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  10. ^ Rothschild, David (November 7, 1991). "Matthew Sweet: Girlfriend (Zoo)". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on November 26, 2015. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  11. ^ Wyman, Bill (December 20, 1991). "Girlfriend". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on November 27, 2015. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  12. ^ Staunton, Terry (June 27, 1992). "Matthew Sweet: Girlfriend". NME. p. 41.
  13. ^ Cavanagh, David (July 1992). "Matthew Sweet: Girlfriend". Q. No. 70. p. 100.
  14. ^ Evans, Paul (January 23, 1992). "Matthew Sweet: Girlfriend". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on August 1, 2009. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  15. ^ Collis, Andrew (June 1992). "Matthew Sweet: Girlfriend". Select. No. 24. p. 77.
  16. ^ Salamon, Jeff (1995). "Matthew Sweet". In Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig (eds.). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. pp. 391–392. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  17. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 3, 1992). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on December 26, 2015. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  18. ^ Power Pop Archived 2009-03-23 at the Wayback Machine. By Noel Murray. The A.V. Club. Published March 19, 2009.
  19. ^ Billboard.com album page
  20. ^ "The 1991 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. March 3, 1992. Archived from the original on May 7, 2006. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  21. ^ Matthew Sweet singles chart history at Billboard.com
  22. ^ Girlfriend [Deluxe Edition] from the Legacy Recordings website Archived 2007-09-10 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Nine, Rarebird. "Rarebird's Matthew Sweet Reviews". rarebird9.net. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  24. ^ "Matthew Sweet 1991-1995 180G LP Series Subscription (PRE-ORDER) – Intervention Records". www.interventionrecords.com. Archived from the original on 2018-05-17. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  25. ^ Puckett, Jeffrey Lee. "'Girlfriend' uses Matthew Sweet's music to tell 1990s story at Actors Theatre". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  26. ^ Chiu, David. "Matthew Sweet's 'Girlfriend' Musical Opens in California". Spinner. Archived from the original on 31 December 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  27. ^ Horn, John. "In 'Girlfriend,' Matthew Sweet's lyrics tell the story". LA Times. Archived from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  28. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (PDF ed.). Mt Martha, Victoria, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 273.
  29. ^ "Matthew Sweet Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved October 20, 2022.