Single Review: Matchbox Twenty “Bright Lights”

Bright Lights
Album: More Than You Think You Are
Year: 2003

Usually bands go out of their way in Rolling Stone, Spin and Blender to make themselves fit the stereotype of the vodka-swilling, sex-lovin’ baddest effing band ever. The standard rock n’ roll image does not fit Matchbox Twenty. They are normal, likeable, and unprententious.

Rob Thomas said in the December issue of Launch that their songs do not have any specific meaning and instead are written to appeal to everyone. Thomas gets that at the end of the day, it’s just music that people will hear on their way to work, while eating at their favorite restraunt, etc.

On that note, “Bright Lights” follows a man hoping his girlfriend will return to him. The single begins a few days after his fiancee breaks up with him. She has decided to go back to New York, however, he realizes that he took her for granted (“She got out of town on the railway, new york bound/took all except my name…some things you can’t see until it gets too late”).

In the chorus, he reveals that she was his rock and he hopes that she will find what she needs back home. But he would like for her to come back home to live with him again. (“Who will save me from all I’m up against out in this world…You’ll find something that’s enough to keep you/But if the bright lights don’t receive you/You should turn yourself around and come on home”).

In the second verse, he confesses that he’s hurting and things are going on that he doesn’t understand — like why does she still keep a picture of him where she lives now? (“I got a scar I can talk about/She keeps a picture of me in her apartment in the city..”)

Although he appears to be supportive, he is really pleading to her to come home (“Let that city spit you out (come on home)/Let that city take you down, yeah/For god sakes turn around”).

Rob Thomas’ voice is pensive but still downtrodden throughout the single. Unlike normal rock bands, he doesn’t scream the lyrics. Instead he’s emotional. In the bridge, it’s all though he’s not yelling to show how angry he is. It’s to vent his frustration and confusion.

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