What is success? 7 million copies sold, 5 Grammy nominations, 1 win…. Sounds like a winning album to me!
‘Crash’ was, in my opinion, Dave Matthews Band’s first real crossover commercial success. While ‘Under the Table and Dreaming’ was nominated for two Grammys, it wasn’t until ‘Crash’ that the band received it’s first and only Grammy. The album peaked at #2 on the Billboard charts, and with a carrier agent like “Crash into Me” it’s no wonder that Dave Matthews Band became a household name. This success came at a weird time in music history. America was entering the post-grunge alt-rock era. The hip hop/rap genre was gaining it’s momentum, and the pop machine was busy churning out its usual drivel. This was the environment that ‘Crash’ was born into.
To me, ‘Crash’ is an example of a perfect album. There is an exceptional balance of tempos, tone, and lyrical diversity. There are fast songs, slow songs.. rock songs, jam songs… Songs about love, life, sex, death… And even one about a peeping tom. Starting with the 1, 2 punch of “So Much to Say” and “Two Step”, “Crash Into Me” follows nicely, creating the first layers that set the precedent that carries through right to the end, the album finishing with the rousing “Tripping Billies” and topped off with the introspective allegorical narrative of “Proudest Monkey”.
The albums backbone is just as strong, with powerhouses like “#41” and “Drive In, Drive Out” holding an even keel with the slower emotional “Let You Down” and politically pointed “Cry Freedom”.
Over the years, and especially before MP3 players became popular, ‘Crash’ seemed to be the Dave Matthews CD that random people would put on whenever we were cruising around. There were countless times in the summers after midnight, windows down, Two Step blaring as we rolled around the country roads of Western Massachusetts.
As an album, ‘Crash’ has that endearing, enduring quality, and I’m sure it will go down in the books as one of Dave Matthews Band’s most influential albums.