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178 of 195 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas breaks out with a "latin/funk/soul/blues" CD!
Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty fame proves himself a winner in his own right with his first album on Melisma/Atlantic records in a DualDisc format. Rob's voice is strong, masculine, propulsive and dynamic-yet beautiful and even vulnerable sounding at times. Some have already written that this CD is an uneven set of tracks without a solid base or theme-but they are wrong...
Published on April 19, 2005 by Matthew G. Sherwin

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great songs, horrible format
I bought this CD because i love the single "Lonely No More"...and the the rest of the CD seems to be really good.

i gave this CD 3 stars because I bought the CD to listen to in my car...which is brand new and has a top of the line CD player, however, the format of this CD will not play in my car. I tried it both ways, and it wouldnt work at all. Tried burning...
Published on April 26, 2005 by F. Friel


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178 of 195 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas breaks out with a "latin/funk/soul/blues" CD!, April 19, 2005
By 
Matthew G. Sherwin (last seen screaming at Amazon customer service) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Rob Thomas: Something to Be by Rob Thomas (2005) - Dual Disc (Audio CD)
Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty fame proves himself a winner in his own right with his first album on Melisma/Atlantic records in a DualDisc format. Rob's voice is strong, masculine, propulsive and dynamic-yet beautiful and even vulnerable sounding at times. Some have already written that this CD is an uneven set of tracks without a solid base or theme-but they are wrong. This album rocks! Rob successfully experiments with several types of musical arrangements and themes about love and general inner peace and happiness on this album. The experiment succeeds and leaves you with a collection of catchy songs that you'll want to listen to over and over again! When I first heard it I was extremely impressed with how well the album held my attention and how strong Rob's voice was. Although Rob has been quoted as saying this is a CD full of songs in the styles of "latin/funk/soul/blues," the combination and the way the songs are arranged is extremely pleasing to the ear and not at all out of control as one writer implied.

The CD starts off strong with "This Is How A Heart Breaks." The song has a catchy beat with an excellent musical arrangement. Rob displays REAL emotion while this song rocks! The title track, "Something To Be," starts with an eclectic musical intro-good guitar! Here Rob sings about a man who is looking for "something to be"-a song of pain and the natural need for machismo-not to mention the general human need to feel important. "Streetcorner Symphony" has an excellent guitar intro as well. This song has a certain feeling not unlike some songs The Grateful Dead performed-very soulful and at the same time very positive. This is a song that's full of hope for overall inner peace, harmony with others and an exciting love.

Then of course there's the hit song "Lonely No More." "Lonely No More" is only the second song ever on the Adult Top 40 chart to boast over 1,000 plays in a single week. As of this writing "Lonely No More" had already reached #1 in Canada as well as hitting the No 2 spot in the U.S. this week at Adult Top 40/Hot AC. The song also hit #13 at CHR/Pop-and all this before the CD was even released! WOW!

The CD ends with "Now Comest The Night." It has a beautiful piano intro, and this is a beautiful love song which ends the CD side of the album in a very touching way.

Note that this is a relatively new type of product which is called a "DualDisc" CD. Once you listen to the songs on one side of the disc, you turn it over to see some DVD footage! There's some great footage and one highlight is definitely the behind the scenes documentary by filmmaker Gillian Grisman entitled "In Session." This shows the recording and songwriting sessions for the CD. You even get a photo gallery and lyrics! A nice plus.

In my opinion, Rob's work is enhanced even further by his teaming up with other artists on this CD. Look for Wendy Melvoin from Prince & the Revolution; she's on board as a steel guitarist here. Some of Dr. Dre's band show up (I'll let you find out who!) and John Mayer helps out on guitar. Mike Campbell (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) performs here, too. There are several people performing background vocals on this CD including Dan Tyminski, Harley Allen, Matt Serletic, Matt Beck, Great Anointing and Pat Enright. The arrangements are smart and very well thought out; there's even a shofar-a Jewish musical instrument, played by Frank London! Very eclectic, imaginative, and bold.

All in all, you can't go wrong with this solo debut from Rob Thomas. The CD is an impressive first solo effort and if this is a sign of things to come, I can only wonder how much longer we have to wait for the NEXT Thomas CD!
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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Nobody Wants to Be Just One Thing", April 23, 2005
By 
S. Nelson "Shanni" (Sountern Illinois, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rob Thomas: Something to Be by Rob Thomas (2005) - Dual Disc (Audio CD)
Granted, this album is a departure from what Matchbox 20 fans are used to, but that's because this isn't a MB20 album.

"I didn't want to go into this record with any idea of what it was going to be like. My only pre-conceived idea was that I didn't want to make a matchbox record with different musicians. I'm already in a great rock band, so if I just made another rock record with two guitarists, a bass player, a drummer, and keyboards, it would be redundant and I wouldn't have been using my time to do something creative and new. It was about having done this for so long at a really high level and still having no idea what I was capable of doing. It was the idea of really finding out things about myself that I've never touched on. I don't want to be just one thing; nobody wants to be just one thing. This record is me trying to step out of that. It is about me trying to find... something to be."

By now, we know to expect quality songwriting from Rob Thomas, and this album delivers no matter how you feel about a particular track's style. This album is really incredible, largely due to Thomas smashing genre rules to simply write and play good music.
Here are my musings...

1: This Is How A Heart Breaks
Initially, this was my least favorite song. I felt that the background vocals were lacking. However, the song's full of energy, and I couldn't help but enjoy it. After listeing to the album several times, I really like this because it sets the tone for the album--introsepctive musings on what life's all about.

2. Lonely No More
MB20 fans, the intro alone might scare you off, but try to get through it! Now, I admit this song is a little... boy bandish, and not at all my usual preference of style. It really does have an Enrique Iglesias ring to it, and during the chorus you might think of the Backstreet Boys. BUT... Rob prevails in writing a truly good song--it's catchy with great lyrics. And it sounds like he had a lot of fun with this track. When I listen to this song, I feel like it would be used in a film soundtrack--some fun spot where the character are singing along. You really can't stay in a bad mood with this song playing.

3. Ever the Same
Definitely one of my favorite tracks of this album. Fabulous Rob Thomas lyrics and a beautiful melody. . And this is much more of a love song than most of his previous endeavors. Definitely one for the wifey--instead of his more usual musings on wanting love from someone else, he sings on the flipside, about being the person than can be counted upon.

4. I Am An Illusion
For whatever reason, this strikes me as the most experimental track. While again, you've got classic Rob Thomas lyrics, this edgey and driven song features a more dissonant accompaniment (that sometimes reminds me of cars honking). Listen for the sample of Bessie Jones's "O Death". Overall, this song makes me think of the fairy in moulin rougue that visits the guys after they've taken too much absens, but I enjoy that.

5. When the Heartache Ends
Acoustic guitar! This song is another favorite--it made me realize that one reason I like Rob Thomas so much is that he sings tunes a lot of men might shy away from. There are parts of this song where I could totally see a female singing this--think Eva Cassidy covering Time After Time. But he doesn't worry about being too sappy or emotional, and really with his incredible voice he doesn't need to worry. This has a little retro singer/songwriter feel--the kind of track where you can't help but sway along.

6. Something to Be
We hear Rob in a little higher pitch here, which he carries out beautifully. Obviously, this title song is not an earth shattering concept by any means. But it's genuine and universal. It might give a glimpse into his life, but most everyone who hears it should be able to identify with these lyrics. Interestingly, instead of the more usual crooning about a relationship being his entire hope and salvation, he turns inward and contemplates the person he's become or should be. I really enjoy this song.

7. All That I Am
Wow--this is much different than anything we've ever heard from Rob, and it's my favorite song on the entire album. This is like experimental world music. It features the shofar (Hebrew ram's horn), kanun (Turkish stringed instrument), and duduk (Armenian wind instrument). The resulting sound is just gorgeous--it often gives an Asian feel. Think Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon). Besides this being an exceptionally beautiful piece of music with meaningful words, the music truly complements the lyrics--the use of metaphor and nature just soaks up the accompanying sound. You'll fall in love on this track.

8. Problem Girl
Another beautiful melody, another favorite of mine. The lyrics bring me back to the days of You or Somone Like You--I think of the song "Kody". Really, what's a Rob Thomas album without an emotional true to life piece written to a girl? So many girls are going to listen to the words and love it--it's another universal message.

9. Fallin' To Pieces
When this track starts up, it's lightly U2esque. For a lot of people, it might be the kind of song that you'll skip over if you don't give it some time to grow on you. There's a definite tune here, but it wanders a little more than most of the other tracks. If I had to pick a least favorite track--this would be it, but it's just because it doesn't resonate with me like the other songs.

10. My My My
MY MY MY is RIGHT! Oh, I just adore this song--Thomas' signature sexy voice grabs you right from the start. He gets so emotional, yet never whiny. This is likely my personal fave style for Rob to sing, because it makes such good use of his talent. Along with his truly incredible songwriting skills, his voice is one of the most incredible voices out there. He's not just making sounds and flat notes, I mean, he uses his voice as an instrument that imparts actual depth and feeling. Lyrically, it's along the lines of Something to Be without the grittiness--this is a much softer reflection, also sung to another rather than about himself and his own struggles with becoming.

11. Streetcorner Symphony
Oh my gosh, this song rocks and it's soo much fun! I totally see a car commercial using this... the lyrics could probably be called cheesy but it's a very good variety of sappiness. Rob just kinda belts this out, and it's great. It's definitely once of those people-come-together-rock-out-love-one-another kind of tunes, but it's actually one that works!

12. Now Comest the Night
And he does it again, folks! What a perfect last song. Slow ballad, reminiscent of early matchbox 20 with an extra bit of soul and (we all love this!) prominent piano. This is a cafe song. A goodnight song. A goodbye song.

You know, I can't express how incredible this album is--I just don't think I expected this venture to be so much better than the MB20 work! It's the kind of album that I listen to all the time now, and I can't imagine how I was living without it :) It's the perfectly rare solo album.
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73 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something To Be is really something special, April 19, 2005
By 
This review is from: Rob Thomas: Something to Be by Rob Thomas (2005) - Dual Disc (Audio CD)
Rob Thomas is such a talented songwriter and musician. He proves it on this solo debut. I liked the documentary featured on the bonus DVD about the making of the album. Rob gives credit to all the musicians who worked on this album. The DVD also features pictures of Rob writing and composing music. I love to see an artist at work, so I liked these photos.

My favorite track is the first single Lonely No More. This song is about how actions speak louder than words when it comes to relationships. and love. I also enjoyed This is How A Breaks. These first two songs have so much energy because of the awesome drum playing by Gerald Heyward. The title track has the universal message that we all search for an sense of identity and purpose in our lives. All That I Am is beautiful song about the sacrifices people are willing to make for the people they love and the things they believe in. I love the steel lap guitar playing by Robert Randolph on this track. He gives this song a spiritual and mystical sound.

Another highlight on this album for me. is the track Street Corner Symphony. This song is about accepting people from all cultures and just about celebrating life. The trumpet playing by Gary Grant gives this song a fun playful quality. My My My is a very deep philosophical song about how a person's influence and achievements can live on after they die. This is a song shows the depth Rob Thomas has as a songwriter. Here Comest The Night is a very moving song that showcases Rob's skill on the piano. I really enjoyed listening to this album and watching the DVD.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great songs, horrible format, April 26, 2005
By 
F. Friel (Noblesville, In United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rob Thomas: Something to Be by Rob Thomas (2005) - Dual Disc (Audio CD)
I bought this CD because i love the single "Lonely No More"...and the the rest of the CD seems to be really good.

i gave this CD 3 stars because I bought the CD to listen to in my car...which is brand new and has a top of the line CD player, however, the format of this CD will not play in my car. I tried it both ways, and it wouldnt work at all. Tried burning a copy of it, and it would not burn. Finally, i ripped the tracks with iTunes in super high quality and burned the mp3s to CD. That's just WAY too much work for a CD to play in the car. Whosever idea it was to create an audio cd in this format needs to think again. It's horrible to pay money for a CD that wont play in ALL CD players. So...dont buy this album unless you have multiple CD players.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great CD - if you can play it!, April 27, 2005
By 
This review is from: Rob Thomas: Something to Be by Rob Thomas (2005) - Dual Disc (Audio CD)
This is my fist CD that I have bought in the DualDisc format and it will be my last. I bought the CD as I am a fan of MatchBox 20 and have been totally frustrated that it will not play! Not in my car's CD player, it won't play in my home stereo or on my computer's DVD/CD rom drive! I wasn't suprised in that my car stereo is not that new but I thought for sure it would play on my computer. I have only manged to listen to the CD once since I bought it. I feel as thought I've wasted my money on something that doesn't work!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something Achieved, April 19, 2005
By 
This review is from: Rob Thomas: Something to Be by Rob Thomas (2005) - Dual Disc (Audio CD)
Rob Thomas' Something To Be is one of the best releases so far this year. Depaturing from his formulatic adult rock sounds of group matchbox twenty, Thomas experiments with several types of music on Something To Be. We should have expected this coming off the Santana collaboration a few years back, "Smooth" and the lead off single of this album, the funky rocker "Lonely No More."

Let's just say you'll get a mix of it all on this disc: rock, latin arrangements, funk, soul, rhythym and blues...Thomas leaves no sound uncovered. While some tracks work better than others, no song on the record is a failure by any means.

Like the album or not, Something To Be offers commercial songs that will get in your head. First track "This Is How A Heart Breaks" and "Streetcorner Symphony" are both catchy mainstream appealing songs, but also offer a deep insight of the soulful nature of Rob Thomas' album.

Key tracks are definitely "Streetcorner Symphony" and "Lonely No More", but this album features several songs that could be radio hits. Thomas deserves commercial success after releasing a very well written and produced set of songs that deserve fans' attention. This dualdisc features a lot of interactive media features that should get fans happy. Buy it for "Lonely No More", but keep it for the rest of the great tunes. This is a good one.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DualDisc format lacks, April 25, 2005
This review is from: Rob Thomas: Something to Be by Rob Thomas (2005) - Dual Disc (Audio CD)
Sure the DualDisc format is nice for the DVD portion, but you can't put the songs from the CD side onto your computer. I tried my CD extractor program and also tried burning a new cd and neither method works. I listen to more music on my computer than with any cd player, so I'm quite disappointed at this. This will be my last DualDisc purchase.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something to Be---Rob Thomas, January 15, 2006
By 
This review is from: Rob Thomas: Something to Be by Rob Thomas (2005) - Dual Disc (Audio CD)
Rob Thomas does it all in this great collection. When I heard "This is How a Heart Breaks" on the radio, I thought, I have to own this CD and I have not been disappointed. I think it should get the grammy for album of the year.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is how Rob Thomas is!, July 7, 2005
This review is from: Rob Thomas: Something to Be by Rob Thomas (2005) - Dual Disc (Audio CD)
After a long time with the Rock band Matchbox 20 where they had many hits together, he joined Santana on "Smooth" some years ago and scored a 1# hit. Now finally a album aswell. And really, this album is great. It's a mix of his inspirations, Rock, Pop, Soul etc. After hearing the first single "Lonely No More" you could think that this album was another Justin Timberlake esque. But no, it's just part of the variety of this album. The first song "This is how the Heart Breaks" is a excellent uptempo rock-pop song about relationships and so is "Lonely No More" which is the best song of this album. "Ever The Same" is a great ballad. "When the Heartache Ends" midtempo rock song and the title track "Something to Be" another funky pop-rock song. "All that I Am" is wonderful, it is a slow song with great music around it, it sounds orinetal and would suit well on a chill out album like Buddha Bar. "Problem Girl" is a traditional rock song with a good guitar solo aswell while "Falling to Pieces" is funky blues rock. If you want a great really slow ballad, "Why Why Why" takes the price. "Streetcorner Symphony" is a catchy jazzy uptempo song that discusses the multi cultaral society.

While this album is very personal, it also shows many of his influents of how great musician Rob is. I was surprised that he could go this far from Matchbox 20's music and create a album full of diversity with flavours from everywhere in the music encyclopedia. "Something to Be" is complete and one of my favorite albums so far this year.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best album I've ever owned..., April 29, 2005
By 
John L "Mogalog" (Crystal Lake, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rob Thomas: Something to Be by Rob Thomas (2005) - Dual Disc (Audio CD)
Now I love all kinds of music. A few of my favorites are Jack Johnson, Lucky Boys Confusion, Vengaboys, Britney Spears, Dr. Dre, Natalie Imbruglia, Jimmy Eat World, Ashlee Simpson, Kelly Clarkson, All American Rejects, Norah Jones, Lil' Kim, Tom Petty, Eminem, and Garbage.

Fortunately for myself, many of those artists have released a new album within the last few months. Also, the type of music they produce is incredibly varied... but that's how I like it.

So, because I loved Rob Thomas's "Lonely No More" so much and I've decided downloading music isn't really fair to the artist, I went out and bought the album. I figured there would be a few really catchy pop songs and 8 I'd never listen to, I couldn't have been more wrong.

I'm still slightly in awe by the album. With the "break-up" sounding titles of a majority of the songs, I figured there would be a lot of depressive half-assed pop/rock crap. But EVERY single song on this album is one I like... most I LOVE. I honestly can't think of any album by anyone else that I've ever enjoyed as fully as this one.

Now I'm not gonna go song-by-song and explain why they are so great. Basically, the lyrics something you'd expect from the ROCK BAND Matchbox 20. When I say that, I mean that we all know that most POP bands/solo artists "Co"write thier songs... This means they do nothing except say "I really think we should use "love" instead of "like" because I'll sound like I'm deep." However, the lyrics are very good and also catchy... But they do all seem to come from something more real than someone cranking out "Bye Bye Bye" and the like.

However, I really think this album's strongest part and what makes EVERY SONG single-worthy is Rob's voice combined with the amazing music. Just listen to the samples provided here and you'll know what I mean. 5 seconds into each song and you know you're going to listen to it over and over. From ballads to rock to latin to pop, this is likely the best album I've ever purchased. I honestly mean that. Listen to the samples and you can hear for yourself. (Keep in mind the CD quality is MUCH better and the detail in the music is lost in the online samples, but you'll get the jist)

Also, I don't understand why some people think an album has to have a theme as a whole. Can't someone just write great, honest, amazing sounding songs and throw them all together on an amazing album? I'm sorry, but if I'm upset I want one depressive song I can relate to with a few happier songs to make me feel better. This album is variety, so don't expect any single type of sound here. But then again, that's why I love it so much.

- John
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