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Rob Thomas

'Something' New

RobFans of Matchbox Twenty will hear a different side of group frontman Rob Thomas on his eclectic Melisma/Atlantic solo debut, "...Something To Be," which arrives this week. The set veers from familiar Matchbox Twenty sounds ("Ever the Same") and dance-oriented pop (first single "Lonely No More") to elegant, sweeping prog-drama ("All That I Am") and propulsive rock ("This Is How a Heart Breaks").

Thomas wrote much of the album with longtime Matchbox Twenty producer Matt Serletic. The Virgin Records chairman was also at the helm for the solo project. For material, Thomas often turned to what he affectionately refers to as "the scrap yard."

"When it comes time for a project, I look at the scrap yard and find what's good or bad. There could be a great verse you love so much, and you go to the scrap yard and find a chorus you love."

In addition to Thomas' readily identifiable vocals, the solo tunes share another bond with Matchbox Twenty songs: most deal with love gone wrong. "I have the hardest time writing about being happy," Thomas says. "To me, that's not interesting. That's why I try to spend so much time writing with other people."

Thomas kicked off an 11-date solo tour April 15 in San Francisco. The outing, which will be followed by a larger venue tour later this year, marks the first time Thomas has played clubs in more than eight years.