Episode 124- Musician Matthew Sweet

After watching everything available for streaming and listening to every playlist compiled during this pandemic, we hear you’re looking for someone to love. So we figured we’d better step up and give you a podcast episode that couldn’t be denied. Don’t worry, we’re all just trying to get through this and make it to better days. If that includes binge-watching The Nanny, go for it. But now we’re excited to offer you a great alternative to occupy space in your brain.

Picture it. Metro Detroit. The mid-ish 1990s. A young, stylish college journalist named Heidi is conducting her very first interview with a famous person — Matthew Sweet. She’s a huge fan of his songs and is nervous about asking the right questions and making a great impression. Matthew turns out to be an absolute delight; he’s extremely interesting, fun, and empathetic. Heidi realizes that this interviewing thing is up her alley. At the very same time, a young man named Luke is sitting in his room, alternating between Girlfriend, Altered Beast, and 100% Fun, and his huge collection of drum and fife music. In other words, our hosts have had a Matthew Sweet connection for decades, so this interview must be fate. But not in a weird way.

From “Girlfriend,” to “Sick of Myself,” to “Where Do You Get Love,” to his work with fellow musicians like Susannah Hoffs and Pete Yorn, Matthew Sweet’s voice is one of a kind — once you hear it, you won’t forget it. Matthew spoke with us about his new album, Catspaw, which happens to be his 15th studio album. He shared his inspiration for the album, and what drew him to make this his first solo album on which he plays lead guitar. While the album was produced just before the lockdown last March, it was a largely isolated endeavor. Matthew provided some thoughtful analysis into why it’s good to be introspective and spend some time on your own, and we’re going to try and apply it when we start to feel the walls closing in and want, more than anything, to remember what it feels like to go to a crowded concert and hear some great live music. (Another thing that helps — playing a Matthew Sweet album!)

Without a doubt, Matthew gave us great insight into what it means to be a songwriter and musician. He explained how working with other musicians helped inform his own guitar playing. He shared with us what a shock to the system it was, and how quickly he had to adapt, when he was thrust into the 90s world of endless radio interviews, television appearances, and all-around marketing he had to do when Girlfriend took off (all of which connects back to why he is such an empathetic interview subject). Matthew also described how his perspective on performing changed after he was diagnosed with, and began treatment for, bipolar disorder.

Be sure to tune in to this week’s episode to hear how an episode of Star Trek from the 1960s led to the name of Matthew’s latest album. Yes, he has a massive love for cats, but it’s so much more than that. And speaking of love, also listen to the episode to hear the pure admiration shine through when Matthew talks about Big Star. When the episode is over, you’re going to have enough information to make an amazing playlist to help get you through the rest of the winter. Actually, you might just be motivated enough to start writing your own power pop music once you’ve listened to Matthew talk about how the music he listened to when he was young probably influenced his songwriting the most. (If you’ve made an album influenced by your young love of the Crash Test Dummies and Technotronic, call us.)

If you’re beginning to think maybe you don’t know enough about Matthew Sweet, his music, and his latest release, Catspaw, check out his website. He’s also on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Now go forth, put down that TV remote, and listen to some great music. But if you happen to know where The Nanny is actually streaming right now, please let us know. For a friend.

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