Ninety 90’s Songs: The Not-MTV Real World

There’s a term called post-grunge which details several bands that arose after the prominence, and subsequent absence, of Nirvana. The first wave immediately following Nirvana adhered closely to that style of music, but eventually post-grunge came to include later bands that may (or may not) have diluted what grunge was supposed to be with a much more WASP-friendly pop sound. Even today there are some post-grunge acts still lingering around, but you’d need to take a chisel to their shiny pop music complexions to find it cowering within (ahem, Nickelback).

#60 “Real World” by Matchbox 20 (or Twenty, whatever…) Hailing from Florida, of all places, Matchbox 20 (Twenty) hit the music scene with an alternative/post-grunge sound with just enough Florida in it to appeal to the masses. Just like fellow Floridian KC and his Sunshine Band brought disco to the white people en masse in the 70’s, so did the boys in the matchbox bring this sound to the pop charts.

While “Real World” was released in ’98 as a single, it was recorded with their first album “Yourself or Someone Like You” in ’96. The first couple of singles released from the album had a harder edge, with single “Push” gaining some notoriety for seemingly romanticizing physical abuse. Maybe that’s why they chose the bright cheeriness of “Real World” to put out next, that and the MTV reality show progenitor “The Real World: And some poor city” was airing quite popularly.

This lighter fare gave Matchbox Twenty (20) some great airplay, especially on the Top 40 and the, at the time, new Adult Top 40 charts. They failed to break into the tens on the Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock charts, though, and so Matchbox 20/20 was forever destined or doomed to become more of a pop act.

Even now Matchbox Twenty20 is still kicking whenever front man Rob Thomas isn’t going solo and singing along with Carlos Santana, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Whether they chose to or it was providence, riding the wave of pop helped their careers since Rock and Grunge were already beginning to fade by the mid-90’s. It’s better that Matchbox Twenty (20?) didn’t pound that last nail into the Rock coffin. Nickelback was wanting to do that for themselves.


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