Track This: Matthew Sweet's "Sick of Myself"

Matthew Sweet's "Sick of Myself," the first track from 100% Fun is the type of pure power pop mastery that is good for whatever ails your tired old soul. From the palm-muted opening to the first full clean power chords, the song makes its intentions known, rocking heavily with tight drumming and blasting guitars. The song was a call-to-arms in 1995, and its even better now. Sweet's everyman vocals have a bit of sweetness to them, and it sounds like he's having so much fun. The track harks back to 20/20, the solo work of Chris Bell, and the like, but there is a larger guitar presence, if not a Phil Spector attention to detail. Sweet doesn't take himself too seriously and even with the backing of guitar legends Robert Quine and Richard Lloyd, both members of the far artier, yet no less explosive Television, the song maintains a ramshackle vibe. Listen to the sloppy, but spectacular, solos.

Sweet's lyrical bent is pure power pop love and loss. His word play sets the scene; it's smart, yet never self-indulgent. He sings: "You don't know, how you move me /Deconstruct me and consume me / I'm all used up / I'm out of luck /I am starstruck." These lyrics call to mind past pop masters, such as the Beatles,the Raspberries, or the Diodes (it's especially reminiscent of "So Tired of Waking Up Tired") but put a contemporary sheen on it, not unlike Bob Mould's songs for Sugar -- I might think this because of the heavy guitar elements. The chorus rocked me in 1995 as it bounced off the walls of my old bedroom, stirring the tattered clippings and pictures that covered the wall. My friend Jerry and I listened to this track over and over. It still rocks me now; I'll be singing it in the shower tomorrow -- Cuz I'm sick of myself when I look at you / Something is beautiful and true / In a world that's ugly and a lie / Its hard to even want to try." I'm just glad that through all the misery, power pop purveyors, and damn good songwriters, like Sweet keep wanting to try.

Listen to "Sick of Myself"

Track This is a recurring feature of Snobbin' that turns the music appreciation dial up and rips it off of your stereo. It attempts to introduce a new track, allow readers to rediscover an underappreciated track, or just serve as a forum to flat out discuss a track that falls into the ear candy category and should be listened to unabashedly for years to come.


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