Crash Into DMB

Good afternoon everyone! I hope you’re week has been lovely. Mine actually has. I’m in Rockville visiting my sister again. I’m also seeing Dave Matthews Band again tomorrow. Last year’s concert turned out to be a bust (not because of DMB, they were amazing as always) because of some rather unfortunate circumstances. So! We are trying again, and thus I must write about my favorite Dave album for good juju. Gear up, cause it’s a long one.

Album: Crash                                                                         Artist: Dave Matthews Band

DMB_Crash

As I mentioned, Crash really is one of my favorite DMB albums, if not actually my favorite. I have really distinct memories of putting this album on for long drives back when I had my first iPod. If I really listened, I could fall asleep about halfway through “Two Step” and wake up around “Lie In Our Graves.” Every time. Really it was the album I went to for everything from needing a good cry to just dancing around for the longest time. It’s just THAT good.

Crash was released in April of 1996. This is actually DMB’s best selling album, and it peaked at #2 on the US Bilboard 200. For the longest time I thought this album was their fourth, but it’s actually their third. My sister set me straight — Before These Crowded Streets actually came after. Steve Lillywhite, who has worked with the band quite a bit, produced the album and it was released by RCA Records.

I think I like this album because so many of the songs found on Crash were songs that just floated around for awhile. I’ve listened to DMB’s Live Trax Vol. 20 (thanks Erin!) and early versions of “Two Step,” “Tripping Billies,” and “Lie In Our Graves” are on it, despite the fact that it was recorded 1993. This album had literally been played and perfected a thousand times before even being recorded. And it has my all time favorite song on it, so that helps too.

Crash is actually kind of a long album, as per usual with Dave Matthews Band. There are only 12 tracks, but total time on the album is almost 70 minutes. There’s some jamming to say the least. I think this album is a great demonstration of what DMB has to offer, and I think in writing about it I’ve realized why not everyone likes it.

Dave Matthews Band has a very distinct style to their music. I mean, every album is different and I can actually pick out the ones that are less like this than others, BUT a Dave Matthews Band song lacks structure. Not in the way you’re thinking — it’s not a free for all. But it’s hard to find the melody in a Dave song. This isn’t a bad thing, though. If anything, it works for the band because every player is able to showcase their talents. I’ll be coming back to this in a second, but I want to talk about the actual tracks on the album first.

Crash opens with a few really upbeat numbers. Honestly, don’t ask me why this is the album I always picked to listen to before bed. The opener, “So Much To Say” is a great jam that features a lot of LeRoi Moore, but I’m going to gloss over it to move on to “Two Step.”

“Two Step” is a much darker song than it’s predecessor, but then suddenly it’s not. It’s almost like listening to two different songs, but quite honestly it’s one of the most beautiful love songs I’ve ever heard. Lines like “Hey my love do you believe that we might last a thousand years/Or more if not for this, our flesh and blood” show the dark place the author is in, but then the song takes on a lighter tone with lines like “Celebrate we will/for life is short but sweet for certain.” The song has a pretty interesting story behind it; I really encourage you to look it up, but it’s just not something I can cover here.

But moving on, I want to talk about my favorite song. I honestly think Crash is my favorite album because of “#41.” People get really confused when I say my favorite song is a number, but DMB fans know exactly what I’m talking about. I think what makes this song special is it applies to any situation. Rumor has it it’s about the band’s break up with an old manager over creative differences — it’s probably the best break up song ever written. “#41” is especially unique in that it has no chorus. It’s literally the most beautiful poem I’ve ever heard put to music. This song is the reason that I believe Dave Matthews is an amazing lyricist. I can’t even pick just one line for you guys because the whole song is THAT good. And remember how I said DMB songs lack a certain structure? This song is the perfect example. I can’t tell you or sing you the melody, but I know the song front to back. It’s just so perfect to me.

From the upbeat tracks like “So Much To Say,” “Too Much” and “Tripping Billies” to the more serious “#41” to the slow and quiet “Crash Into Me” and “Cry Freedom,” Crash covers it all. I could probably give each song on this album it’s own post because I have that much to say, but don’t worry. I won’t share. Crash is an album with a little bit of everything, and it’s an album that really showcases what every member as well as the band as a whole has to offer. This album — this style — might not be for everybody, but it’s certainly something everyone should try. And it’s an album that probably makes my top 5.

Like this album? Hate this album? Share any strong, weak, or ambivalent feelings below in the comments, on my Facebook page, or on Twitter @notreallyindie. Until the next time I feel like writing, keep listening 🙂

Lately I’ve forgone the honorable mentions section, but I think it’s time for a revival: Crash Into Me, Too Much, Drive In Drive Out, Lie In Our Graves, and of course, #41. Seriously. Listen to it.

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