Sidney Matthew Sweet (born October 6, 1964) is an American rock singer-songwriter and musician. He was part of the burgeoning Athens, Georgia, music scene in the early and mid-1980s before gaining commercial success during the early 1990s. He continues to tour, and his most recent studio album, Modern Art, was released in 2011.
In 1980, while attending Southeast High School in Lincoln, Nebraska, Sweet, having written and recorded songs on four-track cassettes, and having joined the band The Specs, released his first recording on a battle of bands LP produced by a local radio station, and fronted his own local band called The Dialtones. After graduating in 1983, Sweet travelled to Athens, Georgia to attend college during the vibrant Athens music scene. That same year, Sweet, who had met the band R.E.M. when they played a show in his hometown the previous year, collaborated with frontman Michael Stipe in a duo group under the name Community Trolls, as well as played guitar in Stipe's sister Lynda Stipe's band, Oh-OK. In addition, he formed another duo, The Buzz of Delight, with Oh-OK drummer David Pierce, releasing an EP, Sound Castles, in 1984 on DB Records. On the strength of this 12" vinyl, Sweet was signed to a solo recording contract with Columbia Records.
In 1986, Sweet released Inside, his debut album, to good reviews but little commercial success.
In 1989, Sweet released Earth, after signing with A&M Records and, again, it was well-received critically, but failed commercially. This period marked a personal and professional low point, as both his record company lost interest and his marriage failed.
In 1990, A&M released Sweet from his contract, and he signed with rival Zoo Entertainment, which later formed into Volcano Entertainment several years later. Sweet formed a new band (which included Richard Lloyd, Robert Quine, Greg Leisz, Lloyd Cole, and Fred Maher), and together they spent that year assembling his next work, originally titled Nothing Lasts.
In 1991, Sweet released Girlfriend, the retitled pop-rock album which was widely considered an artistic breakthrough, and quickly garnered impressive U.S. sales, spawning a Top 10 single with the title track. The music video for "Girlfriend" (heavily aired on MTV, MuchMusic and Night Tracks) featured clips from the anime film, Space Adventure Cobra, while the video for "I've Been Waiting" used clips of the Urusei Yatsura character, Lum Invader.
In 1993, Sweet released Altered Beast, a harder rock album which drew mixed reactions with its intense and brooding tracks (such as "Someone to Pull the Trigger" and "Knowing People"). The music video for the single "The Ugly Truth" (directed by Sweet) featured the singer being chased in the desert by police while driving his own 1970 Dodge Challenger, while the video for "Time Capsule" was a literary homage to Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels.
In 1995, Sweet released 100% Fun, an alt-rock album best known for its lead-off track, the self-deprecating "Sick of Myself." The album itself fared better commercially, and even made it onto Entertainment Weekly critic David Browne's year's-best list.
In 1997, Sweet released Blue Sky on Mars, a new-wave album which featured the synth-laden singles "Where You Get Love" and "Come to California." The music video for the former featured Sweet as an astronaut traveling through outer space.
In 1999, Sweet released In Reverse, a psychedelic album which featured Wall of Sound tracks, including the singles "What Matters" and "Trade Places." The album is noteworthy for its 10-minute closing track, "Thunderstorm," which is a combination of several demos.
In 2000, Sweet released Time Capsule: Best of 90/00, a retrospective compilation which featured two new tracks.
In 2001, Sweet and Darius Rucker performed The Beach Boys song "Sail On, Sailor" on the special A Tribute to Brian Wilson, and both the musicians later performed the same song with Brian Wilson himself on Late Show with David Letterman.
In 2002, Sweet released To Understand: The Early Recordings of Matthew Sweet, a retrospective compilation which featured unreleased material. Also that year, he formed the supergroup, The Thorns, with Shawn Mullins and Pete Droge.
In 2003, Sweet released Kimi Ga Suki, a garage-rock album initially released in Japan, where Sweet has a significant following.
In 2004, Sweet released Living Things, an acoustic album which consisted mainly of material he wrote while recording with The Thorns.
In 2006, Sweet and Susanna Hoffs released Under the Covers, Vol. 1, which featured covers of popular 1960s songs.
In 2008, Sweet released Sunshine Lies, his 10th studio album, which also incorporated a 2-LP set featuring 4 bonus tracks.
In 2009, Sweet and Susanna Hoffs released Under the Covers, Vol. 2, which featured covers of popular 1970s songs.
In 2010, the musical "Girlfriend", using songs from Sweet's eponymous album, was staged by the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
In 2011, Sweet released Modern Art, a labyrinthine album which featured the single, "She Walks the Night".
In 2012, Sweet celebrated the 20th anniversary of "Girlfriend" with a tour performing the entire album from start to finish.
In 2013, Sweet and Susanna Hoffs released Under the Covers, Vol. 3, which features covers of popular 1980s songs.
In 2014, Sweet was featured on an episode of The Simpsons, the longest-running American sitcom. He wrote the lyrics to "Hopin' for a Dream", the song by fictitious 1980s band SunGazer, in the episode "Covercraft". Also that year, Sweet and his wife Lisa were research consultants for the Tim Burton film, Big Eyes, a biography about painter Margaret Keane.
In October 2015, 'Completely Under the Covers', a limited 4 cd box set encompassing the three previous 'Under the Covers' collections was released. This collection also contains 15 bonus tracks.
Sweet has announced he will release a new studio album in 2016 (under the working title Tomorrow Forever) funded entirely by fans on Kickstarter. The project was delayed from a 2015 goal date. During the funding period of June 26 toJuly 26, 2014, 781 backers pledged $55,731, exceeding the $32,000 goal.