Rob Thomas is a masterful, melodic pop/rock music maker. He manages to take the darkest and dreariest of subjects and put an optimistic spin on them in his songs. On this his second solo album, “Cradlesong,” he sings about dealing with life-long sickness (“Her Diamonds”), falling apart in the real world (“Real World”), and a dead-end relationship (“Mockingbird”), managing to turn these loveless subjects into some of the most charming, catchy music of his career.

From the moment you hear the opening line of the inspirational first single, “Her Diamonds”, you’re unlikely to be able to escape the spell that Thomas weaves with his melodies. Don’t let the subject matter of the songs fool you, there are uplifting vocals and a soaring beat behind the chorus as he relates to us how a lady (reportedly his own wife) deals with sickness as “her tears [are] like diamonds on the floor.” The song looks set to be lapped up by fans worldwide.

Thomas himself has admitted that the tune, “Give Me The Meltdown” has a touch of INXS to it, and you can hear this immediately in the powerful pop-tinged chorus and the rhythmic strokes of light guitar that carry the song. Thomas changes the vibe of the album again on “Someday,” a slow song in which he talks about how it’s okay to not have all your plans working right now, because “maybe someday, we’ll figure all this out.” Like on “Her Diamonds,” he brings in a choir of backing vocalists to end the song off on a powerful and upbeat note.

The next trio of songs then deliver a power punch of musical excellence to listeners in the form of “Mockingbird,” “Real World,” and the majestic “Fire Mountain,” a tune driven by deep drum beats and fiercely passionate vocals from Thomas the likes of which you hear nowhere else on the album.

The title track and “Getting Late” are two Tom Petty-esque songs that also merit many listens. With “Cradlesong” Rob Thomas shows us that his 80 million album-selling career (with Matchbox Twenty and his own records) is highly deserved – he has a magical way of carrying hope and optimism through all his songs that will make you want to repeatedly listen to his new record over and over.

 

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