Ex-matchbox twenty frontman Rob Thomas is an inspiration to average musicians everywhere. Check the facts: He's not overwhelmingly handsome, he doesn't have an especially compelling personality, his voice falls well short of spectacular, and his songs are nearly as generic as his name -- yet the guy's a platinum-selling star anyway. It's tough to pinpoint precisely how Thomas has managed to pull off this damnably difficult feat, but the combination of competence and caution probably has something to do with it. Although matchbox twenty discs such as Yourself or Someone Like You, the group's mega-selling 1996 offering, hardly qualified as creative milestones, they effectively synthesized the pop trends of the day and made them available in convenient, easily digestible audio snack packs. The same can be said ofSomething to Be, Thomas's 2005 solo bow, which has spawned enough nondescript-but-tolerable hits (most notably "This Is How a Heart Breaks" and "Lonely No More") to financially justify his current big-venue tour alongside Jewel, another inexplicably popular performer. So tip your hat to Thomas, for getting everything possible out of not very much.
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