Girlfriend (album)

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Girlfriend
Girlfriendmatthewsweet.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 22, 1991
Recorded1990
StudioAxis Studios, New York City
GenreAlternative rock, power pop[1][2]
Length60:19
LabelZoo
ProducerFred Maher, Matthew Sweet
Matthew Sweet chronology
Earth
(1989)
Girlfriend
(1991)
Altered Beast
(1993)

Girlfriend is the third studio album by American alternative rock musician Matthew Sweet. It was released on Zoo Entertainment in 1991.

The album was ranked at number 61 on Paste magazine's list of "The 90 Best Albums of the 1990s".[2]

Recording[edit]

Sweet recorded Girlfriend in 1990, following his divorce, he later said to Rolling Stone, "It's funny how the album ended up showing everything I needed to feel. Everything I needed as an antidote is there."[3] He told Entertainment Weekly, "People say, 'This is your big breakup record – will you still be able to write good songs?' I'm sure I'll be just as depressed at some other point in my life."[4]

The album includes guitar contributions from Richard Lloyd, formerly of the band Television, and Robert Quine. Michael Azerrad of Rolling Stone wrote of the sound: "Equal parts anguish and elation, the heavily autobiographical Girlfriend plays Sweet's impeccable pop sense off noisy, passionate guitar work, recalling the Beatles' Revolver, early Neil Young and Television."[3]

Overview[edit]

The cover of the album features a photograph of actress Tuesday Weld from the late 1950s.[5] Originally called Nothing Lasts,[5] the album was retitled following objections to the title from Weld.[6]

The music video for the title track (which aired on heavy rotation on MTV, MuchMusic and Night Tracks) featured clips from the anime film Space Adventure Cobra: The Movie, mainly featuring the character Jane Royal; the video for another one of the album's singles, "I've Been Waiting", used clips of the Urusei Yatsura character Lum Invader.

The tracks "Evangeline" and "Your Sweet Voice" were both followed by the sound of a vinyl outgroove and a phonograph needle lifting off a record, which was meant to signify the end of each side of the album as though it were an LP (thus making the final three songs on the album to be, conceptually, considered bonus tracks); the song "Winona" was named after (but not about) actress Winona Ryder,[5] while "Evangeline" is sung from the point of view of Johnny Six from the comic book Evangeline.

Release[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic5/5 stars[7]
Chicago Sun-Times3.5/4 stars[8]
Chicago Tribune3/4 stars[9]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[10]
Entertainment WeeklyA[11]
Q4/5 stars[12]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[13]
Select4/5[14]
Spin Alternative Record Guide9/10[15]
The Village VoiceA−[16]

Released in October 1991, Girlfriend is Sweet's most commercially and critically successful album to date, with The A.V. Club labeling it the best power pop album of the 1990s.[1] The album peaked at #100 on the Billboard 200 album chart.[17] The Village Voice, on their Pazz & Jop critics' poll, listed Girlfriend as the #7 best album of 1991;[18] the title track hit #4 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and #10 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. "Divine Intervention" hit #23 on the Modern Rock chart.[19]

In 2006, the album was remastered and released under the "Legacy Edition" label,[20] with three bonus tracks (originally released on the "Girlfriend" single, subtitled "the superdeformed CD", and also available on the Japanese version of the album), plus a second disc of home demos, live versions and session recordings called Goodfriend. Subtitled "Another Take on 'Girlfriend'", Goodfriend was a promotional CD partly distributed through Sweet's fan club, and was not commercially released until the Legacy Edition.[21] "Goodfriend" was the original name of the title track, but after early listeners universally misheard the lyric, Sweet changed the title to "Girlfriend".

In 2014, the album received a vinyl release on the Plain Recordings label. (This was not the first release in LP format, however. Classic Records' "Rock the House" label issued it on vinyl, as did BMG in the US in the 1990s.) The single 12-inch vinyl disc featured the first 12 songs, with six songs on each side. The vinyl sound effects were not added like they were on the CD.

In July 2017, Sweet told WXRT radio in Chicago that a friend and musician on the album, Lloyd Cole, convinced him that the title track to his signature album was good.

Reissue[edit]

In 2018, independent vinyl reissue label Intervention Records announced that it would be releasing Artist-Approved 2 LP Expanded Editions of 100% Fun, Altered Beat, and Girlfriend, the three albums will also be released on CD/SACD. Intervention also announced a first time on vinyl reissue of Son of Altered Beast.[22]

Theatrical production[edit]

A theatrical production entitled Girlfriend, inspired by Sweet's album, debuted in 2010 at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Berkeley, California;[23] the play was written by Todd Almond with songs from the album Girlfriend as well as subsequent Matthew Sweet albums.[24][25]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Matthew Sweet. Credit adapted from the original CD liner notes.

# Song Lead Guitar Length
1 Divine Intervention Richard Lloyd 5:37
2 I've Been Waiting Richard Lloyd 3:36
3 Girlfriend Robert Quine 3:40
4 Looking at the Sun Robert Quine 4:16
5 Winona Robert Quine 4:59
6 Evangeline Richard Lloyd 4:45
7 Day for Night Robert Quine 2:55
8 Thought I Knew You Matthew Sweet 2:57
9 You Don't Love Me Robert Quine 5:21
10 I Wanted to Tell You Robert Quine 4:30
11 Don't Go Robert Quine 3:24
12 Your Sweet Voice Matthew Sweet 3:54
13 Does She Talk? Robert Quine 3:27
14 Holy War Robert Quine 3:25
15 Nothing Lasts Robert Quine 3:33

Legacy Edition bonus tracks

  1. "Good Friend" (demo) - 3:36
  2. "Superdeformed" (demo) - 4:09
  3. "Teenage Female" (demo) - 3:54

Track listing for Goodfriend[edit]

All songs written by Matthew Sweet, except where noted.

Goodfriend promotional album cover
  1. "Divine Intervention" (acoustic) – 3:05
  2. "Girlfriend" – 2:52
  3. "Day for Night" (live) – 3:21
  4. "Thought I Knew You" (live) – 3:57
  5. "Looking at the Sun" (acoustic) – 4:15
  6. "Does She Talk?" (live) – 4:23
  7. "You Don't Love Me" (live) – 6:47
  8. "Someone to Pull the Trigger" – 3:53
  9. "I've Been Waiting" (live) – 3:45
  10. "Winona" (acoustic) – 4:30
  11. "Girlfriend" (live) – 4:05
  12. "Cortez the Killer" (live) (Neil Young) – 6:28
  13. "Isolation" (acoustic) (John Lennon) – 3:01

Personnel[edit]

  • Matthew Sweet – vocals, guitar, bass, piano
Additional personnel

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Power Pop. By Noel Murray. The A.V. Club. Published March 19, 2009.
  2. ^ a b Jackson, Josh (February 24, 2012). "The 90 Best Albums of the 1990s". Paste. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Azerrad, Michael (November 28, 1991). "A New Girlfriend for Matthew Sweet". Rolling Stone. Available at Rock's Backpages (subscription required).
  4. ^ Entertainment Weekly, April 17, 1992.
  5. ^ a b c Matthew Sweet talks about his excellent Girlfriend, a September 1992 article from The Tech
  6. ^ "Matthew Sweet Looks Back on 20 Years of 'Girlfriend'". 26 October 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  7. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Girlfriend – Matthew Sweet". AllMusic. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  8. ^ DeRogatis, Jim (June 20, 1993). "A Discography". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on August 28, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  9. ^ Rothschild, David (November 7, 1991). "Matthew Sweet: Girlfriend (Zoo)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  10. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  11. ^ Wyman, Bill (December 20, 1991). "Girlfriend". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  12. ^ "Matthew Sweet: Girlfriend". Q (70): 100. July 1992.
  13. ^ Evans, Paul (January 23, 1992). "Girlfriend: Matthew Sweet". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on August 1, 2009. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  14. ^ Collis, Andrew (June 1992). "Matthew Sweet: Girlfriend". Select (24): 77.
  15. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. p. 328. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  16. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 3, 1992). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  17. ^ Billboard.com album page
  18. ^ "Robert Christgau: Pazz & Jop 1991: Critics Poll". www.robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  19. ^ Matthew Sweet singles chart history at Billboard.com
  20. ^ Girlfriend [Deluxe Edition] from the Legacy Recordings website
  21. ^ Nine, Rarebird. "Rarebird's Matthew Sweet Reviews". rarebird9.net. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  22. ^ "Matthew Sweet 1991-1995 180G LP Series Subscription (PRE-ORDER) – Intervention Records". www.interventionrecords.com. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  23. ^ Puckett, Jeffrey Lee. "'Girlfriend' uses Matthew Sweet's music to tell 1990s story at Actors Theatre". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  24. ^ Chiu, David. "Matthew Sweet's 'Girlfriend' Musical Opens in California". Spinner. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  25. ^ Horn, John. "In 'Girlfriend,' Matthew Sweet's lyrics tell the story". LA Times. Retrieved 15 February 2013.