Matthew Sweet

Platinum & Gold Collection

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Matthew Sweet contributed one of the finest records of the '90s, 1991's Girlfriend, and while his work has rarely visited the lofty heights achieved by that album, he has crafted several solid and sometimes wonderful albums since then. BMG's Platinum & Gold Collection gathers up 12 of Sweet's tunes and lays them down in chronological order, taking three tracks from Girlfriend, two from the follow-up, Altered Beast, three from his most commercially successful album, 100% Fun, two from Blue Sky on Mars, and one from In Reverse. Sweet's best (and best-known) songs are here ("Girlfriend," "I've Been Waiting," "The Ugly Truth," and "Sick of Myself") as well as some less likely tracks that weren't found on 2000's Time Capsule: The Best of Matthew Sweet. "Falling" is one of those songs, and it is one of the many hidden gems lurking on each of Sweet's albums. A minor-chord, Neil Young-inspired ballad, it features a spiraling, often breathtaking guitar solo running throughout and one of Sweet's most heartfelt vocals. Platinum & Gold also picks up the track "Superdeformed" from 1993's No Alternative collection, and while it is nice to have a semi-rarity present it is not one of Sweet's best songs, coming off a little too grunge-influenced and melodically weak. Perhaps it would have been better to add another track from the underrated In Reverse album, one of the shorter songs to complement the very epic "Thunderstorm," which is included. One could argue song selection or worry about omissions, but in the end this is a fairly representative collection that does a good job summing up Sweet's career so far -- not as good a job as Time Capsule, but it sells for less. If you are undecided about which to get, perhaps the cover photo will sway you. Time Capsule has an amazing shot of Girlfriend cover girl Tuesday Weld, while Platinum & Gold has a nondescript close-up of Sweet in sunglasses.

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