A decade off and you'd like to think that Matchbox Twenty would have never skipped a beat and they'd still sound like it was the year 2000. Even though they hooked up with Steve Lillywhite for the short set of new material on Exile on Mainstream, they're back working with Matt Serletic. You would have thought that this album would have sounded like the pairings' previous five efforts, but it doesn't. Matchbox Twenty's North kind of sounds like a Jason Mraz record with some Matchbox peppered in.
Writing for this album wasn't just done by Rob Thomas. He was joined by Paul Stepanek and Kyle Cook this time around too. The difference in the songs is noticeable. Everything is more varied than previous albums and some songs don't sound like Matchbox songs on first listen. If it weren't for Thomas' unmistakable vocal then some casual listeners wouldn't be able to identify them. They're all really well written, they're just a lot different from what we're used to. I guess the lone problem I have with this record is that it's pretty mellow- even for Matchbox Twenty. If there were four or five more songs on this record with a similar place to "She's So Mean," this album would be a lot better.
Matchbox Twenty's comeback album is an interesting one. It will generally be received well, as it should be, but its not going to be one of their more memorable albums. It's a good release with a lot of flavors to it though, and that's not something that Matchbox Twenty had even a decade ago.