Tag Archives: Album Review

Remember Two Things

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I actually remember the first time I ever heard Remember Two Things. It was the summer of 2005, and I had just gotten home from Saratoga Springs, NY after going to my very first Dave Matthews Band concert.
Before that day, I had been a fan, but more of a casual fan. I had heard all the studio albums and a few live ones that had been released up to that point countless times, with the exception of Remember Two Things. I remember thinking of the album as just a demo, being that a number of the songs were re-released on subsequent albums (it wasn’t much later in life that I learned an appreciation for demos).
When the band started playing that evening at SPAC, they opened with a song I didn’t recognize, but everyone else seemed to know. In the pre-smartphone era, there wasn’t a way to Google on the go, so I took a mental note and when I got home I did an internet search.
It turned out the song was “One Sweet World”, and the very next day I was at our local record store buying a copy of Remember Two Things.
The album cover has an autostereogram image on it, which all through growing up I had never been able to see. (Autostereograms are those ‘Magic Eye’ 3D pictures that were really popular in the 90’s.) I spent hours going cross-eyed before I was finally able to see the hidden image. I won’t spoil it for you in case you haven’t seen it yourself yet, but trust me, it’s there.
   Remember Two Things was released on November 9, 1993 on the bands own label, Bama Rags. In 1997, after the band made it pretty big, their major label, RCA Records, re-released the album, helping it go platinum in 2002.
The 2014 re-re-release of the album has four different sections. The first six tracks are full band live recordings that were taped at two separate venues in Virginia and one in Massachusetts. The next two tracks are full band studio recordings, recorded at Flat Five Studios, in Salem, VA. Then there are two more live recordings, but are done acoustically, with just Dave Matthews on rhythm guitar and vocals, and long time friend and collaborator Tim Reynolds on lead guitar. Finally, there are two bonus tracks, early studio recordings of two tracks that would be reworked a bit and released on the debut studio album, Under the Table and Dreaming.
One of the things that had always struck me about this album is the quality of the live recordings. Remember, these were recorded at small venues, in the early 90’s (pre-digital era). Yet the instrument levels don’t wash out the vocals, the ambient and crowd noises don’t thunder over the band… It’s an high standard set right from the get go for the live official releases from DMB.
One of the other things that really stands out to me is the palpable energy given by each band member. You really get a sense of the youth that the band possessed when this was recorded.
More than twenty years later, these songs have all developed their own unique flavor that only time and experience can bring. Listening to these songs in their early incarnations, slightly simpler and stripped down versions, gives a look into the innate talents that each member of DMB possessed from the start, and gives you a baseline with which to view the musical progress of the band from then until now.

Album Review: Crash

Crash

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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.