Matthew Sweet

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Matthew Sweet
Sweet in 2011
Sweet in 2011
Background information
Birth nameSidney Matthew Sweet
Born (1964-10-06) October 6, 1964 (age 54)
Lincoln, Nebraska, United States
GenresPower pop, alternative rock
Occupation(s)singer, songwriter, record producer, instrumentalist
Instrumentsvocals, guitar, bass guitar
Years active1978–present
Zoo Entertainment
Shout! Factory
Associated actsCommunity 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 1980s before gaining commercial success in the 1990s. His twelfth and thirteenth records, Tomorrow Forever and Tomorrow's Daughter, were released in 2017 and 2018, respectively.[1][2]

Early life, family and education[edit]

Sweet was born in Lincoln, Nebraska. He attended Southeast High School in Lincoln,[3] graduating in 1983. He moved to Athens, Georgia thereafter to attend college.[3]



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,[4] 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.[5] On the strength of this 12" vinyl, Sweet was signed to a solo recording contract with Columbia Records.[3]

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; likewise, it was well-received critically, yet not commercially. This marked a personal and professional low period as 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 evolved 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.[6]

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.


Sweet smiling
Sweet in 2006

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.[7] Also that year, he formed the supergroup, The Thorns, with Shawn Mullins and Pete Droge.[8]

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 2006, Sweet and Susanna Hoffs released Under the Covers, Vol. 1, which featured covers of popular 1960s songs.

In 2008, Sweet released Sunshine Lies, his 10th studio album, which also incorporated a 2-LP set featuring 4 bonus tracks.[9]

In 2009, Sweet and Hoffs released Under the Covers, Vol. 2, which featured covers of popular 1970s songs.


In 2010, the musical Girlfriend, using songs from Sweet's eponymous album, was staged by the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.[10][11]

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.[12]

In 2013, Sweet and Susanna Hoffs released Under the Covers, Vol. 3, which features covers of popular 1980s songs.[13][14][15]

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".[16][17] Also that year, Sweet and his wife Lisa were research consultants for the Tim Burton film Big Eyes, a biography about painter Margaret Keane.[18][19][20]

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.[21]

In 2017, Sweet released Tomorrow Forever[22][1], a rootsy album funded entirely by fans on Kickstarter; over the course of one month in 2014, the project exceeded its $32,000 goal by 75% from fewer than 800 backers.[23]

In 2018, Sweet released Tomorrow's Daughter on May 18th[24], a companion album to Tomorrow Forever. Also that year, Sweet was paid tribute in the compilation album, "Altered Sweet", which included artists such as Lisa Mychols, Andy Reed, Greg Pope, Nick Bertling, Fireking, Chris Richards & The Subtractions, simple friend, Michael Simmons, Gretchen's Wheel, The Well Wishers, Elvyn, Pop Co-Op, Stabby Robot, Lannie Flowers, Stereo Tiger, Michael Carpenter, Phil Ajjarapu, CokeRoque, Donny Brown, Nick Piunti, Paranoid Lovesick, Trolley, Keith Klingensmith, Arvidson & Butterflies, Robyn Gibson and Popdudes.[25][26]

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.

Personal life[edit]

Sweet and his wife Lisa have resided in Omaha, Nebraska since 2013.[19] He was previously married at least one other time, which ended in divorce in 1989.

Sweet is a member of the Canadian charity Artists Against Racism.[27]


Film and television[edit]

  • Theme song, Camp Burlesque[34]

Tributes and benefits[edit]

  • "Do Ya" (Move cover), Live from 6A: Great Musical Performances from Late Night with Conan O'Brien
  • "Girlfriend", Onxrt: Live From the Archives, Vol. 4[44]
  • "We're the Same", Golden Jam: General Mills' Golden Grahams[45]
  • "Divine Intervention", 2 Meter Sessies, Vol. 5[46]
  • "Every Night", Listen to What the Man Said: Popular Artists Pay Tribute to Paul McCartney.
  • "Karen", Shoe Fetish: A Tribute to Shoes.
  • "Big Sky", This Is Where I Belong – The Songs of Ray Davies & The Kinks
  • "Good Night" (Beatles cover), For the Kids Too
  • "American Girl" (Tom Petty cover), High School Reunion: A Tribute To Those Great 80s Films[47]
  • "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" (w/ Susanna Hoffs), Like a Hurricane: A Tribute to Neil Young
  • "Hombre Secreto (Secret Agent Man)" (Plugz cover), A Tribute to Repo Man[48]
  • "Marianne" (vocals w/ Tim Robbins), Son of Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys[49][50]
  • "Second Choice" (vocals w/ Velvet Crush), Skrang: Sounds Like Bobby Sutliff[51]
  • "Lonely Summer" (original), Taking It To Heart: Volume Two[52]

Other appearances[edit]


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External links[edit]