Matthew Sweet – 100% Fun

Fact 1) This is the WORST pressing I own.  It sounds terrible!  This makes me weep because I bought it for Sweet’s incredible guitar work.  Fact 2) The title, 100% Fun, was taken from Kurt Cobain’s suicide note, “life is no longer 100% fun.” Fact 3) Riding that sentiment, Sweet sardonically titled the album “100% Fun” as it deals with some pretty heavy but universally relatable themes. Fact 4) The Grunge period was finally over.  Thank God. Despite all that negativity, 100% Fun is power pop personified, hook heavy, and absolute joy given its timing in music and my life.  Perfect companion for your teenage years but one to come back to for its depth you can only understand in your middle ages.

In 1995 I was 15, I was amidst my first “real relationship.”  Puppy love.  So sweet, so uncomfortable.  It’s a rite of passage but rarely a smooth one.  Teenage angst, crippling  insecurity, hormonal changes.  How much does she like me?  How much do I like her?  Don’t pick up, don’t pick up. Please pick up, c’mon pick up.  Oh God, I hope I don’t have to see or speak to her parents.  Am I supposed to hold her hand? I can’t do this, she eats mayonnaise.  Am I in love? Does she love me?  What’s with this clasp?  I don’t know what in the hell I’m doing.  She doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing.  My ear hurts holding this heavy phone so long.  “Uh huh, yea. Wow. That’s interesting.”  We’ve never done anything yet with our lives, what the hell do we have in common besides urge?  How can you talk so much?  God, I must be boring her.  Awkward dates.  Hope there’s a party this weekend.  Need to get Boone’s Farm for her. I know she’s not home so I’m going to leave a message on her machine and make it look like I tried, get credit, and head out with the guys!  Thank you non mobile device world! “You should dump her man.  You’re missing out on so much!” (as we just drive around aimlessly)  Sounds good to me.  And it’s over.  And I’m sad.  What the hell just happened.  And what’s next?  WILL I EVER FIND “LOVE” AGAIN?!?!  Somehow, this album manages to capture all of that spilth.

100% Fun starts with the amazing “Sick of Myself.”  A song that explores self doubt and relationship frustrations.  So catchy so perfect at age 15 and/or 35! Then moves onto a melodic ditty on emotional insecurity, “Not When I Need It” bathed in bubblegum pop and soothing harmonies.  Next is one of my favorite songs of the 90’s, “We’re The Same.”  WE ARE CONNECTED.  WE WERE MEANT TO BE.  WE ARE SOULMATES.  Probably not.  But it captures young love, new love and hope for love so beautifully.  “Everything Changes” and many other of these tracks pick up where Big Star left off.  “Walk Out” is a gorgeous track composed of layered guitars setting the precise tone for a relationship reaching its inevitable end. 100% never fun.  “Smog Moon” is the perfect paradoxical ending, but this is one I’d like you to interpret for yourself.

I don’t look forward to you as a teenager. They will be some of your best and worst years.  They’re quite bipolar. The key is to just get through them.  Ad nauseam advice at this point if you’re actually reading any of these. The highs are euphoric but know the lows are not unique. Everyone experiences dreadful teenage moments. They’re so difficult because we have no precedent at that point. You can and should always express those feelings. Those years will develop calluses for your future self. Building blocks to better manage whatever life throws you. And don’t sweat the small stuff, even crappy vinyl pressings. Life is short. But Sweet with the right mindset.

Favorite Tracks: “We’re the Same” “Smog Moon” “Sick of Myself” “Walk Out”

Pressing: Zoo Entertainment – 72445-11081-1, BMG Music– 72445-11081-1. OP.