Matchbox Twenty Finally Finishes Watering Down Long-Awaited New Album

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Vol 40 Issue 38

Congressional Candidate Forced To Explain Controversial 1971 'Fuck Everything' Remark

LITTLE ROCK, AR—U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder (D-AR) was forced to defend himself Monday against Republican opponent Marvin Parks' claim that witnesses heard Snyder say "Fuck everything" in 1971. "At least four people attest that they saw an inebriated 24-year-old Vic Snyder tell a group of fellow medical-school students, 'I'm so sick of dealing... Fuck everything,'" Snyder said. "Everything? Did Snyder mean 'fuck' middle-class families who need tax relief? Did he mean 'fuck' the nation's elderly? Does Snyder say 'fuck' the American flag?" A spokesman for Snyder said the remark made perfect sense when put in the context of finals week.

Crush Lasts Entire Bus Ride

CINCINNATI—Administrative assistant and bus rider Perry Stoddard, 25, developed a crush that lasted the duration of the Metro line bus trip from Seven Hills Road to downtown Monday. "Oh my God, she is stunning," Stoddard said, staring at the petite, bookish brunette sitting two seats ahead of him. "And she's reading The Idiot! I wonder if she has a boyfriend. My parents would love her." Saddened by the woman's exit from the bus two stops before his own, Stoddard resolved to get out on Court Street and find someone else.

New Homeowner Suddenly Fascinated By Molding

BUCKEYE, AZ—Friends of Michael Ziglar said Monday that, since he purchased his three-bedroom ranch home in April, Ziglar has become endlessly fascinated by molding. "This is a guy who, one year ago, didn't know molding from a ceiling fan," said Colin Pasternak, Ziglar's friend. "Now, suddenly, he's lecturing me on the pros and cons of cavetto versus beak molding. I wish he'd shut up about wall niches and go back to Stargate." Ziglar was unavailable for comment, as he was at a local hardware store pricing decorative wainscotting.

Ducks Only Interested In Man's Bread

ST. PAUL, MN—Como Park visitor Daryl Wilson, 31, reported that he was disappointed to discover that the ducks he'd fed for more than 20 minutes Monday were only interested in his bread. "I thought I'd really connected with the duckies," Wilson said. "But as soon as the bread ran out, they went off to another part of the lake. All that time, they were just using me for my crumbs." Wilson said he has not felt so rejected since the "squirrel and peanuts incident" last year.

Bush Introduces New Timmy Blanchard Left Behind Act

WASHINGTON, DC—President Bush announced Monday that he'll encourage Congress to back his new education initiative, the Timmy Blanchard Left Behind Act. "It is my goal to close the achievement gap in our schools with accountability, flexibility, and choice, so that no child is left behind—except for Timmy Blanchard of Akron, OH," Bush said at a White House press conference. "By 2014, I plan to see a significant jump in the math, reading, and science proficiency of 99.9999 percent of America's students. The children, excluding Timmy, are our future." Bush was inspired to leave Blanchard behind after the child threw up all over the merry-go-round last week.

Antidepressant Use In Children

Last week, the FDA announced that children who take antidepressants face an increased risk of suicide, but some doctors dispute the claim. What do you think?
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Matchbox Twenty Finally Finishes Watering Down Long-Awaited New Album

LOS ANGELES—Executives at Atlantic Records announced Monday that multi-platinum recording artist Matchbox Twenty, which set sales records in 2000 for its mega-hit release Mad Season, has finally finished watering down tracks on its long-awaited new album Beige.

Matchbox Twenty.

"Everyone here at Atlantic is thrilled about what's sure to be the biggest-selling, least-rocking record of the year," Atlantic public-relations spokeswoman Janet Cosgrove said. "It's been a long wait, but the incredibly boring results speak for themselves. Beige is bigger and blander than anything Matchbox Twenty has ever done."

"Grab a chair, America!" she added. "The most uninteresting band in formulaic, corporate radio is back!"

The release has been eagerly awaited by Matchbox Twenty's enormous fan base, composed of American record buyers who have a limited interest in music but enjoy the act of shopping. In order to satisfy the undemanding non-tastes of this lucrative market, Matchbox Twenty has made every effort to create what record-industry insiders say is the band's least distinctive album yet.

Matchbox Twenty - Beige

"Some were disappointed with the relatively limited reception to Matchbox Twenty's 2002 release More Than You Think You Are," Rolling Stone contributing editor Nathan Brackett said. "That album proved what record executives have known for years: It's actually very difficult to record a rock record that has no rock in it at all. But with this new release, Matchbox Twenty has really delivered on its signature non-sound."

After the enormous commercial success of 1996's Yourself Or Someone Like You, demand for simplistic, cookie-cutter output from the band has been high. Yet, according to Grammy-winning lead vocalist Rob Thomas, the new record's release was delayed repeatedly because of Matchbox Twenty's perfectionism in the studio.

"Our goal was to follow in the tradition of great multi-platinum artists like Elton John, Phil Collins, and the Dave Matthews Band—sales powerhouses who relied on the musical ignorance of their fans," Thomas told reporters following Monday's announcement. "We knew that if we wanted to match those historic giants for sheer lack of energy, we couldn't settle for anything less than total banality. And, though it took a lot of time and effort, I think we achieved that—an album that sets a new standard for trite crapola."

"It's really derivative and boring," he added.

Thomas said it was the expectations of listeners that drove the band to create the most average music possible.

"We wanted to give our fans exactly what they've come to expect: music so inoffensive and indistinct that it could be played virtually anywhere—a bank lobby, an SUV stuck in traffic, a party full of aging stockbrokers and their girlfriends. That's no small task. Even a lot of the most vacant and unimaginative people have some capacity to actively engage in the music they're listening to."

According to band members, hundreds of hours were spent in the studio trying to render the sound adequately benign.

"No matter how many times we recorded the new single 'Sitting Down (Hands At My Side),' there was still a certain 'oomph' coming through in the drums, a loud-ish, slightly gripping sound that we couldn't remove," drummer Paul Doucette said. "Finally, after running them through about two dozen filters, we managed to get that 'plastic spork hitting mashed potatoes' sound we were after."

There was a similar problem, band members said, with the guitar solos, some of which contained trace elements of what musicians call "passion." In addition, the interplay among bass, drums, and guitars occasionally produced uncomfortable polyrhythmic effects that provoked unintentional toe-tapping or head-bobbing in listeners. The problems were fixed through extensive re-recording.

"I'm satisfied that all the watering-down we put into this album was worth it," Thomas said. "My lyrics are super-bland, the bass might as well have been recorded on a keyboard, and just wait until you hear how dull we managed to make the guitars sound. It's amazing."

The band will introduce the album's first single next week on MTV's hugely popular, entirely insipid show Total Request Live.

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