Today is the birthday of Rob Thomas, who has brought music fans countless pop-rock hits both as the lead singer of Matchbox Twenty and as a solo artist. Chances are you have heard one or two of his songs, but have you heard them all? AXS has compiled this playlist of Rob Thomas's most underrated songs for fans to rock out to on his special day. Listen to each song by clicking the titles below, while you can learn more about his latest music and tour dates by visiting his artist page at AXS.
When Thomas launched his solo career with the 2005 album Something To Be, there was a little bit of skepticism. Could he possibly replicate the success he'd had while leading Matchbox 20, all on his own? "Ever The Same" was the song that proved Thomas could be a solo artist. The record's third single, it pulled at our heartstrings in such a genuine way while also reaching second place on the Billboard Adult Top 40 Singles Chart. Both Thomas and his wife Marisol, whom the song was written for, both feature in the music video alongside actor Wilmer Valderrama ("NCIS"). You can watch the video by playing the video above.
Speaking of ballads, this is another one that never got enough recognition when it appeared on the Matchbox Twenty album More Than You Think You Are. "The Difference" was hiding at the end of the album, so maybe not enough people heard it because it should have been a hit. It demonstrates Thomas's skill for songwriting and coming up with new ways to express even the most basic of human emotions, particularly in the chorus with lines like "The difference between what you need and what you want to be." It's food for thought, in addition to being a very appealing song.
Matchbox Twenty also came up with some barnstormers in their day, and "Downfall" was the best one that was never fully heard. It has everything music fans could want, from biting lyrics and growling vocals on Thomas's part, to driving instrumentals and even an assist from what sounds like a choir. This is equal parts theater and rock music, an epic four-minute adventure that tells a fascinating story at the same time that it's really fun to listen to. "Downfall" leaves you wanting to know more about the narrator and the person he's singing to, wondering what made him this intense, and that's a kind of storytelling not often found in pop-rock music.
"Bright Lights" was the hidden gem from More Than You Think You Are. Thomas sings about a lost love who abandoned him in order to chase her dream of being a star in New York City, and how he'll always be waiting for her to come home if it doesn't work out. Like "Downfall" it's a fine piece of storytelling, but what puts "Bright Lights" ahead is that it feels full of life. While the former song is edgy and complicated, there's an earnest and charming feeling to "Bright Lights" that puts a smile on the face of anyone who hears it. The song itself feels like coming home.
One of Rob Thomas's best songs doesn't appear on any of his albums. In 2007, Thomas was drafted to provide a pop single for the Disney animated film "Meet The Robinsons" and came up with "Little Wonders," which is heard at the end of the movie and is available on the film's soundtrack. It's a great, heartwarming song about finding joy in the smallest moments in one's life, delivered with such sincerity by Thomas. The song reached the top five on the Billboard Adult Top 40 Singles Chart and cemented Thomas's reputation as not only a memorable vocalist, but someone who has a special voice when it comes to songwriting and connecting with audiences as well.
For more on Rob Thomas, visit his artist page at AXS.