Why does Dave Matthews suck so hard lately?

When the Dave Matthews Band first started to become popular, I really liked it. I liked the crazy horn lines and the ad-hoc instrumentation and the soulful singing of his first big record (1998? I was in 6th grade at the time, I think.) I thought the band also rocked really hard and had a lot of world-music influence that even as a kid I appreciated.

Then Dave entered his smooth-sophisticated-lover phase with songs like Crush and Stay (Wasting Time.) The band still kicked ass but Dave Matthews himself started to become more the focus of the band and his some of his songs got more love-oriented. I didn’t mind though, because now I was in middle school and his music was a good soundtrack for my constant stream of unrequited crushes.

The Dave, apparently influenced by Jack Johnson and John Mayer, started to take on more of a “guitar band” sound (i.e. an acoustic guitar and sappy-ass lyrics.) His radio song last year was “Oh.”

I love you oh so well…like a kid loves candy and fresh snow…

It was at this point that I realized that Dave Matthews was scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Then came “American Baby.”

A horrible, sickening, cloying, atrocious song that sounds like a combination of Genesis and Coldplay, with vile lyrics and incredibly annoying music. A song that sucks so hard, it could suck a golf ball through a garden hose. Dave, what happened? Why did you need to do this?

Lately, huh?

My thoughts exactly.

Put me down in the ‘lately?’ camp. He’s had a few radio songs that were bearable, I suppose…but his baffling fame is way out of proportion to his minimal talent.

Kent Brockman: “And that’s my two cents!”

If we agree “lately” means after the first two singles from Under The Table and Dreaming came out, we can talk. Other than that…My taste in music improved when I got older too. When I was 14 I thought Mister Big was so cool - but I grew out of that.

I actually bought Under the Table and Dreaming and Crash when they were fresh and new and the band was exciting and different. Now I can’t bear to listen to any of their stuff, especially the newer songs. “American Baby” is the worst thing I’ve ever heard from DMB. Next week, those two albums are going to the used CD store to be traded for something I actually like and want and will enjoy listening to, like Tom Waits or the Decemberists.

Yeah…I think you might have that backwards. DMB has certainly been around much longer than JM.

In any event, Under the Table and Dreaming came out in 1994 and was standard issue for any white Gen-X college frat guy along with his dirty baseball cap and J Crew shirts. Crash came out a few years later.

I like DMB but as the Niblonians say - they do not rock. They, along with Blues Traveler, Big Head Todd, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Rusted Root and so on, were part of a 90s Gen-X college alt-rock scene that is no longer relevent (or to this 32 year old New York metro resident, only relelevent as nostalgia when hanging out with old college buddies).

Like many bands, they keep puting out CDs, but after the two or three that everyone ownes…who cares?

Ha. msmith537 managed to name just about every band I saw live in the 1990s. Heh. None of those bands are standing the test of time. I liked them all at the time, but they faded. Meanwhile, this little-known band I liked called Uncle Tupelo (a record-store geek recommended as “a cross between REM and Nirvana”) went on to, like, found a genre and their spinoff band Wilco was called the best rock band in America by Rolling Stone. I still listen to them all the time. Who woulda thunk it?

My point was that Dave Matthews started to take on more of that type of sound after John Mayer and Jack Johnson started to become really popular.

Hey, I like Toad the Wet Sprocket!

Of course you do dear.

…I have friends who are still waiting for Mathew Sweet to win a Grammy.

He deserves one, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. DMB were some of the most innovative music around in the mid-nineties, and they were getting airplay. Considering the other things they were airing on the radio (Ace of Base, anyone?) they were a great breath of fresh air. I even liked Before these Crowded Streets[sup]1[/sup], which I thought was nice and dark, but still well-instrumented and played. But sweet Jesus, these guys are worse than the Rolling Stones[sup]2[/sup] now – putting out so many albums with so little “new” material in them, re-releasing old songs because now they’ve found a 35-minute jam of “Ants Marching” that nobody will ever listen to… and now they’re hideously derivative (of themselves and of Mayer, Johnson, &co), playing lame light rock and smooth jazz love songs that would give John Tesh cavities.

As much as I loathe Steve Lillywhite’s “Hitmaker” status as a producer, the dumbest thing these guys ever did was ditch him in favor of following Dave’s artistic “vision.”

  1. I define “lately” as 1998, which probably makes my tastes a little stodgy.
  2. You’ve got to admit that the Stones’ catalog has some ahem overlap.

The above poster said Matthew Sweet, not Dave Matthews. :slight_smile:

I’m clearly in the minority, but I think that Dave Matthews was, at one time(say, 1994-2000), a brilliant composer of songs. He has written about 20 songs that I consider grade A in quality.

I think almost all composers, however, have a finite number of good compositions inside them. It’s very possible that Dave has reached his limit.

Unfortunately, he is still in the midst of a successful career, and probably feels he has little choice but to continue to pull songs out of his butt in order to keep doing what he obviously loves to do - record and perform music.