Let's start out buy saying Matchbox Twenty is not my cup of tea, the primary objection being main composer and lead singer Rob Thomas's growling vocals. When Thomas sings at a lower volume his vocals are passable. The problems arise when he tries to sing with feeling, getting more and more gutteral as the volume of his voice rises. Combine his vocal limitations with competent but uninspired songwriting and arrangements and you have a thoroughly mediocre band with their second thoroughly mediocre album.
While there is nothing inherently bad about Mad Season, their follow-up to their multi-platinum debut, Yourself or Someone Like You, there is nothing on the album except for the hard rocking "Stop," to recommend it either. Mad Season is better than Yourself or Someone Like You because of the addition of horns and strings nicely placed on a few of the tunes. In addition, Thomas's singing has improved. Perhaps he learned from "Smooth," by far his best vocal performance and best song arrangement. "Smooth," written in collaboration with all-star rock guitarist Carlos Santana for his blockbuster Supernatural CD, leads one to believe that Thomas needs a high quality collaborator to bring out the best of his abilities.
There is not enough on Mad Season to recommend it to an adult rock and roll audience. However, if you are a parent reading this review, do not fret. This is a band with a clean image, doing mainstream rock with non-threatening lyrics. Your teen could be listening to far worse.