Ok. Here we go. Real life music this time. This week, I find myself traveling to Virginia. I wrote this on my flight, so I’m using it to calm my nerves. But why am I going to Virginia you ask? I’ll be seeing Dave Matthews Band at Virginia Beach on Friday, so maybe that will give you a clue about this week’s post.
Album: Busted Stuff Artist: DMB
Wow, my first repeated artist! I originally wanted to pick Crash for this week’s post, but I decided against it. While Crash is my favorite album by the band (for now at least), I chose Busted Stuff because it’s the reason I’m a Dave fan.
Busted Stuff was the fifth studio album put out by DMB, and it has kind of an interesting story behind it. The album started out as the “Lillywhite Sessions,” a project that started in the late 90s/early 2000s. Ultimately, the project was abandoned in favor of the album Everyday because the band wasn’t feeling the collection of “sad bastard songs” that we’re being recorded for the sessions.
Eventually, a confusing series of events led to the internet release of the Lillywhite Sessions on Napster just after the drop of Everyday; the irony is it turned out to be more successful than the band’s actual album. The band finally decided to rerecord some of the Lillywhite Sessions with a couple of new songs thrown in, and Busted Stuff was released in July of 2002.
But on to the music, shall we?
As I said before, Busted Stuff isn’t my favorite Dave album, but it’s up there. It’s got a lot of funky bass, and contains some elements not previously found on DMB albums like the tell-tale twelve string found in “Grey Street.” The only thing about this album is the depressing lyrics. I can see why Dave Matthews described the Lillywhite Sessions as “sad bastard songs,” but honestly, that’s what makes the album beautiful. There is a lot of emotion found on Busted Stuff, and it’s nice that the tracks aren’t necessarily related to each other in content. It’s a very musical album, and I really like the musicality of this album. The other instruments manage to compliment the lyrics without making it strictly about the lyrics; but it’s not just about the background either. There’s a really nice balance between every band members talent — something that is very important.
The album opens with “Busted Stuff” which has all the funk and playful drumming you could want, but I’ll skip over it and move onto “Grey Street.” “Grey Street” was the song that made me a Dave Matthews Band fan. It’s a song about a woman who’s lost all hope, but it sort of resonates with you. Lines like “how did I come to this?” and “I’ve dreamed myself a thousand times around the world/but I can’t get out of this place” define a familiar emotion; its an emotion the band was certainly feeling while recording the original Lillywhite Sessions. Ultimately, the song doesn’t have a very positive outlook; “but all the colors mix together to gray” certainly isn’t uplifting, but the song is played with such ferocity that it doesn’t matter if there isn’t a happy ending.
And there are plenty of tracks that leave the listener with a similar sentiment on Busted Stuff. The track “Grace is Gone” is a soft ballad that deals with turning to alcohol for problems. Lines like “excuse me please, one more drink/could you make it strong because I don’t need to think” reveal the dark place the singer finds himself in, but pleas for help can be found in “Bartender” with lyrics “Bartender please/fill my glass for me/with the wine you gave Jesus that set him free after three days in the ground.”
But as I said, the songs on the album aren’t necessarily related. In “You Never Know,” the singer issues a warning to his audience with “Don’t lose the dreams inside your head/They’ll only be there until you’re dead.” The song ponders a loss of wonder in lines like “but rushing around seems what’s wrong with the world,” and ultimately contains a good message. And yet, there isn’t another track quite like it on the album.
Busted Stuff has plenty of tracks I could talk about for days. I know I say that all the time, but I really mean it. Not that I don’t really mean it all the time, but DMB holds a special place in my heart. Busted Stuff is a very good album, and it manages to keep an even pace without getting dull. I really like to listen to it while flying and right after I attend yoga (there’s a fun fact about me for you). In closing, the album contains a lot of raw emotion which I think is missing from a lot of music you can find in this day and age. I really encourage you to listen to this album sometime, as it manages to comfort its listeners despite the somewhat bleak content.
I now have an Instagram, so hopefully I’ll be posting concert pictures on Friday!! I have lots of good music lined up for the next couple of weeks, but until then, keep listening!
Honorable Songs Mentions: Grey Street, You Never Know, Captain, Raven, Big Eyed Fish