Sidney Matthew Sweet (born October 6, 1964) is an American alternative rock/power pop 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 Lincoln Southeast High School, 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 the bands LP produced by a local radio station. Sweet then 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 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 years-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 1992, Sweet was featured on an episode of the series, 120 Minutes, hosted by VJDave Kendall, which included an interview and live performance.
In 1994, Sweet co-produced the Velvet Crush album, Teenage Symphonies to God.
In 1995, Sweet appeared on an episode of the series, Space Ghost Coast to Coast. That same year, he was featured on an episode of VH1 Duets with John Hiatt, and also contributed guitar and vocals to the song, "She's Not In Love", on the Kim Stockwood album, Bonavista.
In 1996, Sweet contributed bass guitar to the song, "Are You Ready for the Fallout?", on the Fastball debut album. Also, Sweet provided backing vocals for Kris McKay in a cover of his own song, "How Cool", on her album, Things That Show.
In 1997, Sweet was the subject for Matthew Sweet: On the Edge, a documentary produced by NPTV (Nebraska Public Television). Also that year, Sweet contributed vocals to the song, "Sixteen Down", on the Jayhawks album, Sound of Lies.
In 1998, Sweet appeared on an episode of the series, The Drew Carey Show, as a musician auditioning to be in Carey's band.
In 1999, Sweet co-produced (and co-wrote two songs) on the Velvet Crush album, Free Expression.
In 2012, Sweet was the subject for an episode of On Canvas, an Emmy-winning music program which fuses stage performances with interviews.
In 2013, Sweet performed the Beatles songs, "Nowhere Man" and "Day Tripper", along with the Wild Honey Orchestra (featuring Rusty Anderson) at a tribute benefit for autism. That same year, he contributed bass to the Lloyd Cole album, Standards.