Matthew Sweet, 100% Fun (1995)
I remember walking into the local Tower Records (R.I.P.) in '95. They had these listening kiosks set up where you could preview a few new albums. While I had been a fan of Girlfriend, I was not as much into the Altered Beast follow-up (it's grown on me since then), so I didn't necessarily have high expectations when I saw 100% Fun pop up on the screen. But I pressed play, and from the opening three-chord crunch of "Sick of Myself" was completely hooked. And, yeah, every band since the Kinks and the Who has a song with those same three damn chords, but this sounded so fresh and dynamic, and still does, owing to Sweet's indelible way with a great hook. As with Girlfriend, the song rises above other post-Big Star power pop thanks to the dual-guitar kick and Sweet's inviting vocal stylings and killer choruses.
So, yeah, I immediately bought the album and brought it home. And was delighted to find that "Sick of Myself" was far from a one-off. "We're The Same" is no less catchy (and DAMN those harmonies!), and tunes like "Get Older" and "Come To Love" similarly bridge Sweet's melodic and harder rocking sides. And beyond the more upbeat poppy stuff, there are some lovely ballads, most notably album closer "Smog Moon," which is another one that sounds every bit as crushingly entrancing today as it did nearly 25 years ago.
Here's the "Sick of Myself" video, perfect ear candy after all these years:
Buy it on Amazon.