Melisma/Atlantic – 2005 – 50 minutes

Rob Thomas is best known for fronting rock group Matchbox Twenty. Having been the band's main songwriter for the best part of a decade, he wrote tracks like 'Angry', 'Unwell' and 'If You're Gone' and collaborated with Carlos Santana on the summer hit 'Smooth'. His stunning solo album should see his star rocket even higher.

'...Something to Be' takes off at a frenzied pace with the rhythmic 'This is how a Heart Breaks' and the tempo is heightened by first single 'Lonely no More'. It's clear that Thomas is looking to impress here and he succeeds. This is really gritty rock with a healthy heaping of R&B, Hip-Hop and world music. It's very different to the straight-forward rock of Matchbox Twenty, much meatier and really enjoyable.

Thomas used a few guest musicians to achieve this broader sound. Guitarists John Mayer, Jeff Trott and Robert Randolph make contributions and gospel group Greater Anointing add their soulful vocals to a number of tracks. Thomas himself sounds fantastic; bitter, angry and pleading all at once.

He really rocks out on tracks such as 'I am an Illusion' and the title track, so much so that you feel like he's about to burst at some moments. He holds nothing back, even in the gentler songs the emotion is there in spades.

It's hard to pick highlights from such a great collection. There are many to choose from, and it's not too often you can say that, is it?

Katie Moten

Tracklisting: This is how a Heart Breaks – Lonely no More – Ever the Same – I am an Illusion – When the Heartache Ends – Something to Be – All that I am – Problem Girl – Fallin' to Pieces – My, My, My – Streetcorner Symphony – Now Comes the Night