Matchbox 20’s Thomas in solo return

Rob Thomas, the Matchbox 20 frontman, returned on Tuesday with his second solo album, “Cradlesong.”

TRIVIA: Carlos Santana’s album “Supernatural” went platinum 15 times, in large part because of the hit song Thomas wrote, “Smooth.”

STANDOUT: “Wonderful,” a punchy horn-laced track, finds Thomas deflating his critics with a little self-deprecation: “I guess I’m past my prime, and now I’m overrated, overdressed and overstated.”

FANS DIG: Intense stares

ANDY SAYS: Thomas is quickly becoming his generation’s Neil Diamond, a songwriter who worships melody as much as schmaltz. That’s not a bad thing. Sure, it means his latest solo outing has some awkward turns. He calls one song “Real World ‘09,” after all. But it also means he’s not scared of going for broke. Thomas ends up delivering a few huge, overly earnest songs that you can sing in the shower. Pop music needs that, more than a little bit.

GRADE: B-minus

Andy Rathbun: 425-339-3455,

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