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VINE VOICEon October 17, 2007
Way back when in 1996, lead singer Rob Thomas, drummer Paul Doucette, and bass player Brian Yale, all former members of Orlando rock group Tabitha's Secret, hooked up with two local guitarists Kyle Cook and Adam Gaynor to form Matchbox 20 (later replaced with "twenty" spelled out to help distinguish the band from the number frenzy taking place with band names). The resultant group would go on to take over the airwaves and sell millions of albums worldwide. After the release of their third album, "More Than You Think You Are," the members of matchbox twenty decided to take a break and focus on their own interests. Rob Thomas went on to have an extremely successful solo career with hit songs like "Lonely No More," "Ever the Same," and "Little Wonders." Kyle Cook went on to record an EP with his other project The New Left. Paul Doucette recorded tracks for a yet to be released solo album under the moniker of The Break and Repair Method. Adam Gaynor parted ways with the band and began writing music for various musical scores. Brian Yale worked on his golf game.

As 2007 opened, the reunion of matchbox twenty was anything but a certainty. With Rob Thomas selling over 2 million copies of his solo album "Something to Be...", doubt began to swirl as to whether or not a matchbox reunion would be something Thomas would even be willing to entertain financially. But true to his word, Thomas returned to the group and in the Spring of 2007, entered the studio with the other three remaining members in hopes of recording one final swan song to be included on a greatest hits package.

With the goal of creating something new and unique, matchbox hired producer Steve Lillywhite, someone they had never worked with in the past, to help them complete this final song. Once in the studio though, the new dynamic of the group lead to such a strong feeling of creativity that matchbox decided to not just record one song, but record enough tracks for an EP that would be packaged along with their greatest hits set. With Doucette replacing Gaynor on rhythm guitar, matchbox twenty crafted six songs with songwriting credits given to the band as a whole, not just to Thomas as was customary in the past.

The result of these unique recordings is "Exile on Mainstream," six tracks that sound distinctly different from anything matchbox twenty has ever done in the past, packaged together with the 11 singles that matchbox twenty released from their three previous albums. The six new songs play out as follows:

1. How Far We've Come- 9/10
A catchy uptempo number that is already blazing up the charts. It takes some time to adjust to this being matchbox twenty, but once the listener gets past the surprisingly searing chorus, this song becomes a catchy toe tapper that will most definitely be a great song to hear live.

2. I'll Believe You When- 8/10
A solid tune with a positive uptempo beat and well placed background vocals.

3. All Your Reasons- 9/10
I'll admit, the backing vocals at the beginning of this song on first listen were annoying, but after a good deal of listens, they become less intrusive. This song is another uptempo number that is extremely catchy and easy to relate to.

4. These Hard Times- 10/10
Straight from the proverbial matchbox canon, this is by far the best song on the album, and in my opinion, rivals great songs like "Back 2 Good" and "Bright Lights" as one of the best matchbox twenty songs of all time. This mid-tempo ballad is beautifully written with Rob Thomas' emotions pouring out with every word. A sure fire second single, destined to go to number one on multiple radio formats.

5. If I Fall- 7/10
The weakest song on the album. This song just lacks any memorable feel to it.

6. Can't Let You Go- 9/10
A beautiful ballad that can be likened to another matchbox album closer "The Difference." This song is sure to make the female fans melt in concert.

As far as the greatest hits go, I don't think a review is needed because those songs speak for themselves. Most will recognize all of the songs with the possible exception of first single "Long Day," which was spun mostly on alternative stations before "Push" garnered mainstream success for the band.

While "Exile on Mainstream" is not the full album of new material that many matchbox fans were hoping for, it is an extremely creative work that brings about a promise of more. After matchbox wraps up its tour in the first quarter of 2008, Rob Thomas plans to spend the rest of the year recording his second solo album and has estimated that 2009 will be the year we get a completely new matchbox twenty album.

In the meantime, we all can enjoy these wonderfully unique new songs and take a moment to reflect on the solid body of work that these boys have created over the years. In the words of Thomas in "These Hard Times," "say goodbye, these days are gone." With a laundry list of accolades in the rear view mirror, is it possible that the road matchbox twenty is currently on will lead to even greater success? You may want to call me "Unwell," but I do believe the "Bright Lights" will continue to shine even brighter on this talented quartet.
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on October 4, 2007
Wow, this band has such a great catalog of music and this CD package shows it off wonderfully. And for a great price! If you've never bought an MB20 CD before this is a great one to start with. The greatest hits CD has all their singles that were made into videos. That's how they narrowed it down. If you're a true fan you know that there are many other gems on each of their previous studio albums and I recommend them all. The second CD in this package has six new songs. For those who are complaining, it could have been ONE cover song added to a greatest hits package like so many bands do. Rob Thomas' solo CD did so much better than expected so he's been on tour for several years in support of that. And then he needed some rest! Now he's back with MB20 and we've gotten six new songs and true to form they are all over the place genre-wise from pop to rock to rockabilly to blues. The band wrote all of these song collaboratively for the first time. My favorites are "How Far We've Come" and "If I Fall". But I like them all after only a few listens (and give them time to grow on you!). I agree that the background vocals are a bit annoying on "All Your Reasons" and it's a shame since it's a great song. As always, Rob's vocals are excellent on the new songs. And it is interesting to see how his vocals have changed over the years as you listen to the greatest hits CD. Enjoy this music. It is made by true musicians who are actually very nice guys.
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VINE VOICEon October 7, 2007
Indeed, at first i was thinking man...only 6 songs but. I thought about it this is a greatest hits collection by the guys and for it include 6 new songs thats crazy. Because you normally get maybe 2 or 3 new songs at the maximum on a greatest hits collection if your lucky. But Matchbox Twenty surpasses that and then some. With new songs soon to be favorites " How Far We've Come", "These Hard Times" and "Can't Let You Go". Them scaling down to a foursome hasnt affected them at all as the guys are only starting to hit their stride on this one and i'm looking forward to their next full release as a quartet.

The collection has some of their songs released from various cds like "Yourself or Someone Like You" - Long Day, Push, 3 AM, Real World and Back 2 Good.

"Mad Season" - Bent, If You're Gone and Mad Season

"More Than You Think You Are" - Disease, Unwell and Bright Lights

A pretty good disbursing of their singles from their 3 previous efforts. It is more than satisfying to know the guys from MB20 are still enjoying what they do and keep bringing something for all the fans out there that enjoy their music.

This is a collection for anyone that is interested or were wondering what they are all about. Exile On Mainstream is worthy of your attention and hopefully purchase as well.

Enjoy and welcome back guys.
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VINE VOICEon October 3, 2007
Matchbox Twenty's lyrics on Exile on Mainstream's six new tracks are universally felt. The music is upbeat for most of the tracks, and the lyrics are dark in true MB20 fashion. The themes of Exile all have to do with relationships and seem to be discontent, uncertainty, regret and the inability to make amends. As they say, hindsight is 20/20. Kind of like waking up one day and thinking, `What is my life all about?' And then trying to make peace with what you've created. "These Hard Times" has the classic MB20 sound and is sure to please. "How Far We've Come" and "I'll Believe You When" are played in part during Monday Night Football.

Front man Rob Thomas performs outstanding vocals, and drummer Paul Doucette moved to guitar and does a superb job. Another fabulous album from a legendary band. This devoted fan is super satisfied.

If you're one of the few that haven't experienced Matchbox Twenty, you must buy this album. It's a great place to start.

This version is worth the extra cash because it includes two videos of the band talking about the making of the album, which includes clips of music videos. It also has a great photo collection and interactive features such as making your own remix and creating ringtones from any song. Also, if you register you will receive updated features when you insert the disc into your computer. MVI is on one disc and all 17 tracks are on the other.
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on October 2, 2007
Matchbox twenty is back, and they've made some changes. The biggest change is that rhythm guitarist Adam Gaynor left the band. The second change is a new producer, Steve Lilywhite (Dave Matthews Band, U2, etc.). The third change is that the four remaining band members wrote all of the six new songs.

Exile on Mainstream is a two CD set. The first disc is just the six new songs - How Far We've Come, I'll Believe You When, All Your Reasons, These Hard Times, If I Fall, and Can't Let You Go. I love all the songs and think they're great - I give them all a five out of five. Three songs stand out to me, though: How Far We've Come, I'll Believe You When and These Hard Times.

"How Far We've Come" - This song is the first single, and it's definitely a different sound for the band. Also, I think of this song as describing the band itself up to this point - "let's see how far we've come".

"I'll Believe You When" - This song has a bit of a country feel to it.

"These Hard Times" - This song has the "matchbox twenty sound" that fans, including myself, know and love.

The second disc has the hit songs that represent the band well. Most peple are going to say that there are certain songs that should have been included or excluded on here, and I am one of them, but I'm very happy with the collection as a whole. (Personally, I would have replaced Long Day and Disease with Last Beautiful Girl and Black and White People.)

Now I'll rate the songs:
Long Day - 3/5
Push - 5/5
3 am - 4/5
Real World - 4/5
Back 2 Good - 4/5
Bent - 5/5
If You're Gone - 5/5
Mad Season - 4/5
Disease - 3/5
Unwell - 5/5
Bright Lights - 4/5

This new CD from the band has me hopeful that they will release more new music in the future!
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When it comes to great hits packages this past year, there have been some that've delivered well for their bucks like The Police and Genesis, who've celebrated their best years of their lives, reuniting and touring again in unison, and have made great hits packages as well. Surprisingly, Matchbox Twenty has had that in question recently with frontman Rob Thomas who had some surprising solo success with his album Something To Be. That did very well, but left die hard fans pondering if he was going to keep delivering on his own, or if he was going to return to his roots. He returned to his roots and reunited with Matchbox Twenty for a new hits album that delivers nicely.

The 2007 Matchbox Twenty greatest hits album Exile On Mainstream, re-introduces the 90's Rock group to a whole new audience nicely, which it has been 10 years since they broke out of the mainstream with their surprising hit Push. All of there hits singles are shown proudly here from all 3 of their big records from 1996-2002. The album includes all of their big hits from Unwell, which had a very catchy and uplifting video, their hard-hitting and haunting Bent, to the Hard Rock driven soul of Disease, as well as other great songs like Real World, If You're Gone, and 3 A.M. There are also a few new songs here as well that add to the feeling of the group including the catchy How Far We've Come. It does surprise me though that the group decided to make it 2 seperate discs instead of one disc, the first for the new tracks and the second for the hits. But, it does get the job done pretty nicely though.

All in all, while Rob Thomas' solo works from Something To Be or his collaborations with Santana on Smooth aren't displayed here, the album alone sticks out to the heart of Matchbox Twenty well, as just the band itself. I've loved their songs and catchy videos, and I think unlike other hits albums recently like Faith Hill's Hits, Exile On Mainstream works out very well as a great buy for anyone who doesn't yet own a Matchbox Twenty album, and for die hard fans. I really think this one is worth the buy, and that could be anytime, even when it is 3 A.M.

Album Cover: B

Songs: B+

Price: A-

Remastering: B 1/2+

Overall: B 1/2+
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on October 5, 2007
Matchbox twenty was perhaps my favorite band of the 90's. Yourself or Someone Like You was a masterpiece. Featurining just the right balance between mainstream and not so mainstream alternative rock. The album spawned 6 radio singles, all but one of which are included in this hits package. Mad Season was a little more poppy, and had fewer straight up rock tunes, but was nevertheless excellent. The same went for 2002's More Than You Think You Are. Then the band vanished. Rumors ran wild that they had broken up, but in truth, they were merely working on solo projects. I went crazy with anticipation for Rob Thomas's solo album "Something to Be" in 2005. After all, everything this man had ever touched with his band or without (smooth with santana comes to mind) had been absolutely golden. Unfortunately, the solo record was merely average. Thomas went a more experimental route that i would have liked and although he delivered some great songs, not one of them was one of those anthems that could survive a decade and still sound fresh. but also problematic was that the album contained a few mediocre tracks, something unheard of in the work of rob thomas. was he losing his touch? over two years later we finally have the answer. no.
"How Far We've Come" is easily the best song of the year. It definitely is a new sound for the band, but its as catchy as anything else you'll hear this year, and its lyrically mindblowing. Thomas rattles off the verses rapidly before reaching the chorus which will surely be stuck in your head for days. the first time i heard it i went crazy with anticipation again. a new matchbox twenty album was finally in the pipeline. of course, i was setting myself up for more disappointment as i soon found out that the album would be a greatest hits album and would only include half an album of new material after which thomas would begin recording his second solo album. the only question i have after hearing the new tunes is why thomas would ever feel at home without his band. Obviously all of the new songs are excellent. A mix of harder rock (If I Fall, All Your Reasons) to mid tempo ballads (Can't Let You Go, These Hard Times). Interestingly, most of the new set follows the example of the first single. Most of them dont sound much like anything the band has done up until now. These Hard Times though is classic MB20, with a bridge that will bring memories of the 90's flying back.
The second disc is obviously great as well, but wont do much, even for casual fans as the band has only put out three albums, and buying all of them is certainly the best way to go no matter what. The album is very straightforward, going through all the bands big hits in chronological order. Dont get me wrong, the songs are great, but some of the best songs in the collection arent here. Songs like Hang, Shame, Kody, Rest Stop, Leave, The Burn, The Difference, All I Need, Downfall, and Hand Me Down are all five star tracks that were never singles. That said, the album is fun to listen to, and really got me back into MB20. The tracklist does leave a little to be desired, but it concludes with Bright Lights, the best song Rob Thomas ever wrote, and at the end of the day, thats all you really need to make an album perfect.
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on October 8, 2007
Matchbox Twenty is a band that I have been loyal to from the very begining. No need to catch up I bought Yourself Or Someone Like You since I first heard 'Push' (still my fav MB20 song)Watching them evolve since then into an incredible adult contemporary band I was more than eager to pick up their new double disc. If you want to get an even better bang for your buck go get this new cd at Best Buy because then you get the 6 new songs and two live bonus tracks of them covering The Black Crows and David Bowie. The 6 new songs are fantastic each one a great listen. Then you get all their singles in a greatest hits compilation on a second disc. I dont know if this is the end for this band. But hearing what they have come with with their 6 new songs I sure hope not!
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on December 27, 2007
I was a casual MB20 fan, but really took an interest after listening to Rob Thomas' album Something To Be (which I highly recommend). The first six songs are new, and are definitely different than their past work. I wish this had been an entire album of new songs, but it's nice to have these old favorites if you didn't already own them. Can't wait for the next full album from either the group or Rob. If you already own the previous works, the new songs are a must buy. If you don't have anything yet, get the full album. Well worth it. The physical copy does include a DVD of videos and behind the scenes clips.
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on October 4, 2007
I realize they have only released 3 full CDs plus 1 EP, and I, too, was rather surprised when I first heard this was a Greatest Hits compilation. However, the extra CD with previously unreleased songs is terrific, and if you have a Best Buy store by you, they offer an exclusive 2-CD set that includes 2 extra previously unreleased songs for $9.99 this week. Both songs are live cuts; one is a cover of David Bowie's "Modern Love." It is fantastic! I recommend this CD set whether you get it from Best Buy or elsewhere. It is more than worth the cost!
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