Rob Thomas - Chip Tooth Smile

Rob Thomas
Chip Tooth Smile

"Smooth" feels like a distant memory at this point. A song that blasted onto the scene in 1999 and was so ever present it was almost haunting. The Santana and Rob Thomas collaboration saw the Mexican Guitar maestro thrust back into the mainstream while Rob Thomas tried to break from his Matchbook 20 bonds. Since then both have dwindled in popularity, but Thomas much more so. He has released a few album here and there but nothing with much fanfare or wide appeal. This new album then arrives in a rather still market for Thomas, even more so for Adult Contemporary. With the death of radio and the rise of streaming people are less inclined to listen to whatever they have been listening to forever and more apt to check out new playlists or at least something new. The 20 and 30 year careers are starting to look more and more difficult for musicians these days, at least maintaining a high level that whole time. This new record from Thomas is not plagued by absurdity or some ear beating stuff, it is as a whole just kind of boring. Sure all the things Thomas has been lampooned for in the past are still there: His ridiculous intonation, His over the top emotion and a voice that is just kind of ok. There are no real things that make you say, fuck yeah Rob Thomas. His music is just this amorphous aggregation of things we hear in modern music, but they all feel borrowed rather than owned.

You keep waiting for something to move you in one way or another, but those moments never come. Is it country, is it adult contemporary, is it pop? The  answer is just kind of yes across the board. Each new song means some sort of new sound with Thomas' vocal slapped right on top. We are just way to far out from his personality being able to make this thing soar. When He tries to really put himself into a track like on "It's Only Love" it just ends up sounding pretty silly. He tries to croon at times and get into this I'm giving you something really special vibe, but man it sounds so hollow and vacant. There is so much production going on and such a big sound that the songs need to match up with it, they just never seem to do that. Maybe for Thomas diehards there is enough here to keep them happy, but for the rest of us this just does not move the needle. A snooze across the board means no resurgence from our boy Rob.

4.0 out of 10


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