Well, the obvious question is: How relevant is the traditionally youthful pine of a gooey power-pop love song when it's sung by a fortysomething? Normally, not so much, which is why hesitation should be employed when considering the purchase of two new Matthew Sweet records, Living Things and Kimi Ga Suki(the latter a Japan-only release that is being reissued in the States). While Sweet hasn't been much more than a blip on the radar since his 1991 pop gem Girlfriend, the guy can still write a catchy melody. And so we find ourselves with 24 new Sweet pop songs that fall short of being gems and whine about life and girls and remaining relevant in rock 'n' roll, but make it hard to resist tapping your feet along nonetheless. While sonically similar, Kimi gives us a few more upbeat rockers (the Lenny Kravitz-y "I Love You" and the uninspired kick drums and dark, minor-key riffs of "Spiral"), whereas Living employs a tad bit more sentimental piano and acoustic guitar (the anthemic soft pop of "In My Tree" and the ready-for-Broadway strut of "Cats vs. Dogs"). If you still have Sweet's '90s material in regular rotation, you'll probably be a fan, but if you're just looking for a quick pop fix, there are some younger dudes making records right now that'll work better.
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