Songcraft: Spotlight on Songwriters Podcast

Matthew Sweet

Ep. 120 - Matthew Sweet 

"Sick of Myself" - The Reliable Purveyor of Power Pop


Scott and Paul analyze mix tapes, cool bands, and "older brother rock."

PART TWO - 5:29 mark
Scott's and Paul's in-depth conversation with Matthew Sweet

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Paul and Scott jump on the phone with Matthew Sweet, one of the nicest rock stars on the planet, to get the lowdown on how a postcard from Michael Stipe altered his musical future; why he says being a solo artist is lonely; the reason he describes the drums on "Girlfriend" as "odd." why a paralyzing fear of flying kept him off airplanes for nearly a decade; what he really thinks of being labeled "power pop;" why he was conflicted about making The Thorns album; what happened when he suggested that he and Susanna Hoffs write an album together; and the song he collaborated on with a Saturday Night Live legend that led to another SNL legend covering one of his very earliest recordings.

Best known for hits such as “Girlfriend” and “Sick of Myself,” Matthew Sweet is a melodically-oriented rock tunesmith who was at the center of the 1990s power pop revival. After befriending R.E.M., the native Nebraskan relocated to Georgia, where he joined Michael Stipe’s sister Lynda’s band, Oh-OK and launched his own group Buzz of Delight. 

Sweet eventually launched his solo career from New York and then Los Angeles, earning gold certification for his albums Girlfriend and 100% Fun. The latter was named one of the year’s best by Entertainment Weekly, and he has gone on to release a dozen more critically-acclaimed solo albums. Additionally, he has collaborated on a series of cover song projects with Susanna Hoffs, as well as on an album of original material in collaboration with Shawn Mullins and Pete Droge under the name The Thorns.  

As a songwriter, Matthew has collaborated with The Jayhawks, Hanson, Michael Stipe, Chris Stamey, and Jules Shear, with whom he wrote the title track for ‘Til Tuesday’s album Everything’s Different Now. His most recent album is titled Wicked System of Things.   

Songcraft's Matthew Sweet Playlist: Spotify users can select the song you'd like to hear below, or simply start the player and enjoy a selection of Matthew's great songs, including a handful of tracks recorded by other artists. If you don't have a Spotify account, follow the prompts to sign up for free. Click this link to take you directly to the playlist in the Spotify web player.