Matchbox Twenty Songwriting: Then and Now


This article was written by on Tuesday, February 1st, 2011 | has written 12 articles

Rob Thomas In the Studio

Rob Thomas In the Studio

Over the years and with the coming of different albums by Matchbox Twenty and Rob Thomas, I’ve been impressed with their quality.  I love listening not only to the music but I love to ponder the lyrics, wondering about each word and what it means to me at that time.  At different times, the lyrics have come alive for me and have taken on different meanings.  I still remember how healing Little Wonders was for me when it came out as it spoke to me “in these small hours” and “it’s the heart that really matters in the end.”  Okay, so maybe my kids enjoyed watching Meet the Robinson’s a few too many times but I still love that song!

When I was first introduced to Matchbox Twenty, I didn’t have a formal introduction, no one I knew seemed to be “into” them at that time, I suppose that it was destiny that I happened to hear “I think I’ve already lost you, I think you’re already gone” playing overhead which stopped me cold and I had to listen.  Later, I made an effort to find out who sang this song.  Mad Season was the first Matchbox Twenty album that I ever bought and I became an instant fan.  I really loved so many of the songs right from the start where others have grown on me over time.  Simple song names yet unforgettable messages with Bent, Crutch, You Won’t Be Mine, Rest Stop, Bed of Lies and, of course, the title track Mad Season.  Honestly, the lyrics have spoken volumes to me while personally helping me through good and bad times.  I’ve listened to that album over and over again and have understood that “there is something in me in everything in you” and the memories I’ve compiled from these songs brings a smile to my face even now.

So, this had me thinking about what it takes to produce such great songwriting.  Songs that create memorable experiences, leave me pondering and prove their worth over time.  What’s the process?  What happens behind the scenes?  Where is the dynamic of the language and music coming from?  How has it compared over the years even between being a band for Matchbox 20 and going solo for Rob?  As I’ve become interested in the journey that songwriting must take on, I wanted to learn more about it.  A lot of what I’ve learned about writing lyrics has come from Matchbox 20/Rob Thomas interviews and magazine articles I’ve read.   Also, reading and listening to their songs is the strongest vantage point to get a glimpse into this process.  Lately, I’ve been enjoying the official Matchbox 20 tweets about how they’re back in the thick of this process again.  To illustrate the answers to these questions, I’ve found some YouTube videos of Rob talking about songwriting from when he was young and just starting out to presently after becoming solo.  To me, it’s interesting to listen to him talk about how he has come about writing songs from then to now.  After all, it’s true what he says “writing is very cathartic.”

Let me know in your comment what you think about songwriting or which songs have meant a lot to you.

“I like the way it feels to write. I enjoy the process of coming up with something out of nowhere”

[Click here to view this video]

“Writing the song “visions of paradise” with Mick Jagger:”

“It’s always about the first line for me.”

“Interwoven between being a band and going solo:”