||This article is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (November 2012)|
Sweet in 2011
|Birth name||Sidney Matthew Sweet|
October 6, 1964 |
Lincoln, Nebraska, United States
|Genres||Power pop, alternative rock|
|Occupation(s)||singer, songwriter, record producer, instrumentalist|
|Instruments||vocals, guitar, bass guitar|
|Associated acts||Community Trolls, Oh-OK, The Thorns, Susanna Hoffs|
Sidney Matthew Sweet (born October 6, 1964) is an American rock singer-songwriter and musician. He was part of the burgeoning music scene in Athens, Georgia, during the early and mid-1980s before gaining commercial success during the early 1990s. He continues to tour, and his most recent studio album, Modern Art, was released in 2011.
Early life, family and education
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In 1980, Sweet, a high school student, wrote and recorded songs on four-track cassettes. He joined the band The Specs and released his first recording on a battle of bands LP produced by a local radio station, and fronted his own local band called The Dialtones. After graduating, Sweet travelled to Athens, Georgia to attend college during the vibrant Athens music scene. That same year, Sweet, who had met the band R.E.M. when they played a show in his hometown the previous year, collaborated with frontman Michael Stipe in a duo group under the name Community Trolls, as well as played guitar in Stipe's sister Lynda Stipe's band, Oh-OK. In addition, he formed another duo, The Buzz of Delight, with Oh-OK drummer David Pierce, releasing an EP, Sound Castles, in 1984 on DB Records. On the strength of this 12" vinyl, Sweet was signed to a solo recording contract with Columbia Records.
In 1986, he released Inside, his debut album, to good reviews but little commercial success. In 1989, he released Earth, after signing with A&M Records and, again, it was well-received critically, but failed commercially. This period marked a personal and professional low point, as both his record company lost interest and his marriage failed.
In 1990, A&M released Sweet from his contract, and he signed with rival Zoo Entertainment, which later formed into Volcano Entertainment several years later. Sweet formed a new band (which included Richard Lloyd, Robert Quine, Greg Leisz, Lloyd Cole, and Fred Maher), and together they spent that year assembling his next work, originally titled Nothing Lasts.
In 1991, Sweet released Girlfriend, the retitled pop-rock album which was widely considered an artistic breakthrough. It quickly garnered impressive U.S. sales, spawning a Top 10 single with the title track. The music video for "Girlfriend" (heavily aired on MTV, MuchMusic and Night Tracks) featured clips from the anime film, Space Adventure Cobra, while the video for "I've Been Waiting" used clips of the Urusei Yatsura character, Lum Invader.
In 1993, Sweet released Altered Beast, a harder rock album which drew mixed reactions with its intense and brooding tracks (such as "Someone to Pull the Trigger" and "Knowing People"). The music video for the single "The Ugly Truth" (directed by Sweet) featured the singer being chased in the desert by police while driving his own 1970 Dodge Challenger, while the video for "Time Capsule" was a literary homage to Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels.
In 1995, Sweet released 100% Fun, an alt-rock album best known for its lead-off track, the self-deprecating "Sick of Myself." The album itself fared better commercially, and even made it onto Entertainment Weekly critic David Browne's year's-best list.
In 1997, Sweet released Blue Sky on Mars, a new-wave album which featured the synth-laden singles "Where You Get Love" and "Come to California." The music video for the former featured Sweet as an astronaut traveling through outer space.
In 1999, Sweet released In Reverse, a psychedelic album which featured Wall of Sound tracks, including the singles "What Matters" and "Trade Places." The album is noteworthy for its 10-minute closing track, "Thunderstorm," which is a combination of several demos.
In 2000, Sweet released Time Capsule: Best of 90/00, a retrospective compilation which featured two new tracks.
In 2001, Sweet and Darius Rucker performed The Beach Boys song "Sail On, Sailor" on the special A Tribute to Brian Wilson; the musicians later performed the same song with Brian Wilson himself on Late Show with David Letterman.
In 2002, Sweet released To Understand: The Early Recordings of Matthew Sweet, a retrospective compilation which featured unreleased material. Also that year, he formed the supergroup, The Thorns, with Shawn Mullins and Pete Droge.
In 2003, Sweet released Kimi Ga Suki, a garage-rock album initially released in Japan, where Sweet has a significant following.
In 2004, he released Living Things, an acoustic album which consisted mainly of material he wrote while recording with The Thorns.
In 2009, Sweet and Hoffs released Under the Covers, Vol. 2, which featured covers of popular 1970s songs.
In 2011, Sweet released Modern Art, a labyrinthine album which featured the single, "She Walks the Night".
In 2012, Sweet celebrated the 20th anniversary of "Girlfriend" with a tour performing the entire album from start to finish.
In 2014, Sweet was featured on an episode of The Simpsons, the longest-running American sitcom. He wrote the lyrics to "Hopin' for a Dream", the song by fictitious 1980s band SunGazer, in the episode "Covercraft". Also that year, Sweet and his wife Lisa were research consultants for the Tim Burton film Big Eyes, a biography about painter Margaret Keane.
In 2015, Sweet and Susanna Hoffs released Completely Under the Covers, a limited 4-disc box set encompassing the three previous Under the Covers releases. This collection also contains 15 bonus tracks.
In 2016, Sweet will release a new album (under the working title Tomorrow Forever) funded entirely by fans on Kickstarter. The project was delayed from a 2015 goal date. During the funding period of 781 backers pledged $55,731, exceeding the $32,000 goal.
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- Furthermore What (by Oh-OK) (1983)
- Inside (1986)
- Earth (1989)
- Girlfriend (1991)
- Altered Beast (1993)
- 100% Fun (1995)
- Blue Sky on Mars (1997)
- In Reverse (1999)
- Time Capsule: Best of 90/00 (2000)
- The Complete Recordings (by Oh-OK) (2002)
- To Understand: The Early Recordings of Matthew Sweet (2002)
- Kimi Ga Suki (2003)
- The Thorns (by The Thorns; Matthew Sweet, Pete Droge and Shawn Mullins) (2003)
- Living Things (2004)
- Under the Covers, Vol. 1 (with Susanna Hoffs) (2006)
- Sunshine Lies (2008)
- Under the Covers, Vol. 2 (with Susanna Hoffs) (2009)
- Modern Art (2011)
- Under the Covers, Vol. 3 (with Susanna Hoffs) (2013)
- Tomorrow Forever (working title) (2016)
Film and television
Tributes and benefits
- In 1983, Sweet was an extra in the film, Terms of Endearment, in a scene featuring Debra Winger and Jeff Daniels at the University of Nebraska.
- In 1985, Sweet contributed a cover of the dB's "Ask for Jill" (with Don Dixon and Chris Stamey) for the Hoboken anthology, Luxury Condos Coming to Your Neighborhood Soon.
- In 1986, Sweet contributed lyrics and vocals to the song, "Something Becomes Nothing", for The Golden Palominos album, Blast of Silence and played with the band during a 1987 concert tour.
- In 1988, Sweet co-wrote (with Jules Shear) the title track to the final 'Til Tuesday album, Everything's Different Now.
- In 1991, Sweet contributed bass guitar to Lloyd Cole's cover of "Chelsea Hotel" for the tribute album, I'm Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen, and also toured with his band, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions.
- In 1992, Sweet was featured on an episode of the series, 120 Minutes, hosted by VJ Dave Kendall, which included an interview and live performance.
- In 1992, Sweet played bass on the album To Hell With Love by Suzanne Rhatigan, which was produced by Sweet's Girlfriend producer Fred Maher and also featured Sweet's guitarist Robert Quine.
- In 1994, Sweet co-produced the Velvet Crush album, Teenage Symphonies to God.
- In 1995, Sweet appeared on an episode of the series, Space Ghost Coast to Coast. That same year, he was featured on an episode of VH1 Duets with John Hiatt, and also contributed guitar and vocals to the song, "She's Not in Love", on the Kim Stockwood album, Bonavista.
- In 1996, Sweet contributed bass guitar to the song, "Are You Ready for the Fallout?", on the Fastball debut album. Also, Sweet provided backing vocals for Kris McKay in a cover of his own song, "How Cool", on her album, Things That Show.
- In 1997, Sweet was the subject for Matthew Sweet: On the Edge, a documentary produced by NPTV (Nebraska Public Television). Also that year, Sweet contributed vocals to the song, "Sixteen Down", on the Jayhawks album, Sound of Lies.
- In 1998, Sweet appeared on an episode of the series, The Drew Carey Show, as a musician auditioning to be in Carey's band.
- In 1999, Sweet co-produced (and co-wrote two songs) on the Velvet Crush album, Free Expression.
- In 2000, Sweet contributed lyrics and vocals to the song, "Daylight", on the Delerium album, Poem. Also that year, he appeared on the game show, Win Ben Stein's Money, as a contestant playing for Alzheimer's.
- In 2001, Sweet was interviewed for the book, Behind The Muse: Pop and Rock's Greatest Songwriters Talk About Their Work and Inspiration.
- In 2002, Sweet contributed vocals to the title track of the Counting Crows album, Hard Candy.
- In 2003, Sweet co-wrote the song, "Stumbling Through the Dark", for the Jayhawks album, Rainy Day Music.
- In 2004, Sweet co-wrote the title track to the Hanson album, Underneath.
- In 2008, Sweet was featured in Mellodrama, a documentary about the Mellotron. Also, he produced The Bridges debut album, Limits of the Sky.
- In 2010, Sweet was featured on an episode of Stripped Down Live With Curt Smith, which included an interview and live performance.
- In 2011, Sweet performed the Big Star song, "September Gurls", with Mike Mills at a tribute concert to Alex Chilton. Also, he co-produced The Bangles comeback album, Sweetheart of the Sun.
- In 2012, Sweet was the subject for an episode of On Canvas, an Emmy-winning music program which fuses stage performances with interviews.
- In 2013, Sweet performed the Beatles songs, "Nowhere Man" and "Day Tripper", along with the Wild Honey Orchestra (featuring Rusty Anderson) at a tribute benefit for autism. That same year, he contributed bass to the Lloyd Cole album, Standards.
- In 2013, Sweet collaborated with Tim Robbins and Susanna Hoffs for a cover of the traditional "Marianne" for the sea shanty-compilation Son of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys.
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