For the writer and broadcaster, see Matthew Sweet (writer).
Matthew Sweet
Birth name Sidney Matthew Sweet
Born October 6, 1964 (1964-10-06) (age 55)

Lincoln, Nebraska United States

Genres Power pop, alternative rock
Occupations Singer, songwriter, record producer, instrumentalist
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass guitar
Years active 1980s - present
Labels Columbia Records</br>A&M Records</br>Zoo Entertainment</br>Shout! Factory

Sidney Matthew Sweet (born October 6, 1964, in Lincoln, Nebraska) is an American alternative rock/power pop musician. He was part of the burgeoning Athens, Georgia music scene in the early and mid-1980s before gaining commercial success during the early 1990s. He continues to release albums and tour.

Early careerEdit

As a teenager in Lincoln, Sweet wrote and recorded songs on four-track cassettes, and in the ninth grade joined the band the Specs which resulted in his first recording on a battle of the bands LP produced by a local radio station. Sweet set off to Athens, Georgia in the early '80s after graduating from Lincoln Southeast High School in 1983 to attend college and join the vibrant Athens music scene, most famous as the home base for R.E.M. and The B-52's. In 1983, Sweet collaborated with R.E.M. member Michael Stipe under the name Community Trolls as well as being in Stipe's sister Lynda Stipe's band Oh-OK, and that year also formed another band, Buzz of Delight.

In 1985, he was signed to a solo recording contract with Columbia Records. One album, Inside, was released by Columbia in 1986 to good reviews, but limited success.

Sweet was then picked up by A&M Records where he released his second album, Earth (1989), again without commercial success. This period marked a personal and professional low point for Sweet, as A&M lost interest and his marriage failed.

Sweet quickly recovered and formed a new band including Richard Lloyd, Robert Quine, Greg Leisz, Lloyd Cole, and Fred Maher. The new group spent 1990 assembling Sweet's next work, originally titled Nothing Lasts.

Commercial breakthroughEdit

In 1990, A&M released Sweet from his contract, and he signed with rival Zoo Entertainment. The album, still under construction, was retitled Girlfriend and released in October 1991. This album featured a classic set of pop-rock songs, was considered by many to be an artistic breakthrough, and quickly garnered impressive U.S. sales (spawning a Top 10 single with the title track). The video for the title track was aired on MTV, MuchMusic and Night Tracks and features Japanese animation, of which Sweet is a fan. The animated clips in the video for "Girlfriend" are taken from the movie Space Adventure Cobra, and the video for "I've Been Waiting" uses clips of the Urusei Yatsura character Lum Invader, of whom Sweet has a tattoo.

Sweet's follow-up album, 1993's Altered Beast, was borne out of an apparent determination not to become mainstream. A more diverse and less immediately accessible album than Girlfriend, the album divided fans and critics who had mixed reactions to emotionally intense and brooding tracks like "Someone to Pull the Trigger" and "Knowing People." A second single, "Time Capsule", became a music video classic directed by Douglas Gayeton. The highly conceptual work featured extreme closeups of Sweet singing while prone on the grass. As he performed, his body was slowly covered with cockroaches that ultimately wrapped his body with twine. The final shot showed him pinned to the ground in a literary homage to Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels".

In 1995, Sweet released 100% Fun. The album mixed bouncy pop style with darker lyrics, including a leadoff track, the self-deprecating "Sick of Myself." The track has been covered live by Jon Auer, co-frontman of fellow '90s power poppers The Posies, as well as by Death Cab for Cutie and Bowling for Soup.

Recent historyEdit

Decidedly out of the musical mainstream, Sweet would issue a few more albums in the second half of the decade and maintain a devoted core of fans, but critical acclaim and chart success would be hard to come by.

Sweet's international success had been somewhat limited by his fear of flying;[1] however he gained a significant following in Japan and his 2003 album Kimi Ga Suki * Raifu, was initially a Japan-only release.

In early 2002, he formed the supergroup The Thorns with Shawn Mullins and Pete Droge. He released a new album of solo material, Living Things in late 2004, though the material on the album was recorded in 2002.

In April 2006 he partnered with Bangles rhythm guitarist-vocalist Susanna Hoffs to release a collection of 1960's classics, titled Under the Covers, Vol. 1 featuring their take on such widely known '60s hits as "Monday, Monday" and "The Kids Are Alright". The album represented a return to the accessible and melodic approach associated with Sweet's early breakthroughs.

Sweet's album, Sunshine Lies, was released on Shout! Factory on August 26, 2008. Accompanying the CD and download formats of the album is a 2-LP set featuring four previously unreleased songs.[2]

On July 21, 2009, Sweet and Susanna Hoffs released their second collaboration Under the Covers, Vol. 2, which features covers of songs from the 1970s by such artists as Fleetwood Mac, Carly Simon, Yes, Todd Rundgren, and Rod Stewart.



Other workEdit

  • Sweet appears briefly as an extra walking by the camera in the film Terms of Endearment.
  • Sweet has contributed numerous tracks to compilations and soundtracks, ranging from the Carpenters tribute album If I Were A Carpenter to covering Tom Petty's classic "American Girl" for the popular 80's compilation High School Reunion - a tribute to those great 80's films, and to soundtracks for Buffy the Vampire Slayer (song: "Silent City"), Brain Candy, The Baby-Sitters Club and Can't Hardly Wait, as well as "Superdeformed" to the AIDS benefit album No Alternative and "Scooby Doo, Where Are You?" to the compilation Saturday Morning Cartoons' Greatest Hits.
  • Sweet provided guitar, bass and/or vocals on a number of tracks on Lloyd Cole's albums Lloyd Cole (1990), Don't Get Weird on Me Babe (1991) and Bad Vibes (1993), as well as bass on Cole's recording of "Chelsea Hotel," on the Leonard Cohen tribute album I'm Your Fan.
  • Sweet co-produced the Velvet Crush albums Teenage Symphonies to God and Free Expression and co-wrote two songs on the latter.
  • Sweet and Jules Shear collaborated to write the title track for Everything's Different Now, the third and final album by 'Til Tuesday. Sweet and Shear also collaborated on Sweet's album Earth, which also included collaborations between Sweet and Shear's then-wife, Pal Shazar.
  • He has also co-written at least one song with the Jayhawks, "Stumbling Through the Dark," on which he sang backing vocals, and has provided backing vocals on at least one other Jayhawks song, "Sixteen Down." In addition, the Thorns recorded a Jayhawks tune, "Blue."
  • Sweet collaborated with Delerium on a song called "Daylight" from their 2001 album Poem.
  • Sweet was also the guitarist in Ming Tea, a band featured in the first Austin Powers movie, with Susanna Hoffs and Mike Myers.
  • Sweet appeared as himself in an episode of Cartoon Network's hit tv series Space Ghost Coast to Coast
  • Sweet was namechecked in Kosuke Fujishima's long-running manga series Ah! My Goddess during a storyline about the male lead, Keiichi Morisato, and his encounter with Schrodinger's Whale (a play on Schrödinger's Cat, this was a whale that existed in a five-dimensional quantum state). Keiichi taught the whale Sweet's song Millennium Blues, and the whale learned Missing Time by itself, thus ensuring (albeit inadvertently) that the species would survive by having a call that they would be able to locate each other by.
  • Sweet interpreted a cover version of Magnet and Steel (Walter Egan) for Sabrina The Teenage Witch TV Series Soundtrack in 1998.
  • Sweet worked with Anton Fier's Golden Palominos in 1986, Blast of Silence CD, reissued in 1998.
  • In 2001, he co-wrote the song "Underneath" with the re-emerging rock band Hanson. The song appeared on Hanson's 2004 album Underneath.
  • Sweet provided backing vocals on the title track from Counting Crows' 2002 album Hard Candy.
  • A cover version of "Girlfriend" is featured in the video game Guitar Hero II.
  • Sweet performed "Ballad of El Goodo" on the 2006 Big Star tribute album, Big Star Small World.
  • Sweet is an atheist.[4]


  1. Joe Silva. "INTERVIEW: Matthew Sweet", Consumable, April 28, 1997. Retrieved on 2007-10-31.
  2. "Matthew Sweet Tells Lies on New Record", Pitchfork Media 4 June, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-5-5.
  3. CD liner notes: Saturday Morning: Cartoons' Greatest Hits, 1995 MCA Records
  4. Thompson, Stephen (2000-09-06). "Is there a God?". The A.V. Club.,1394/. Retrieved on 2009-09-04. 

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