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Matchbox 20: 'North' 

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I'll make this as quick and painless as possible. First of all, Matchbox 20 still exists (yes, the “push you around” guys). Secondly, they have a new record and this is a review of that record. North, the group’s first full album in more than 10 years, is less of an album than a manufactured product which, perplexingly, a large number of people will probably consume. As I consider these initial observations I am struck first by a wave of non-specific anger and then by a jaded shrug. Glossy, vapid (musically and lyrically), and wholly devoid of inspiration or originality, North doesn't let up in its insistence that its creators don't realize the emptiness of what they're doing. In place of further observations of a similarly bleak sort, some decisive and corrective advice is surely in order here. For lead man Rob Thomas: buy a boat or something, bro. Or perhaps, see if Santana needs a vocalist (because that's the last thing you did with ANY soul). For the band: all the community colleges can always use people to teach the rudiments of music to tomorrow's composers no inspiration required, only passable dexterity. For music fans: skip this album because it offers nothing you can't absorb in an hour's worth of MTV commercials.

½ (out of 5 stars)

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