Auricle: Music Discovery and Discourse

On my mind: Workaday "Everyday"

I'm a little conflicted here, so bear with me.

I was all set to publicly admit to liking the new Dave Matthews Band album, "Everyday," despite its middling critical reviews (and, I suppose, despite its rampant commercial acceptance).

Because when it comes down to it, what's not to like? Okay, so it's a little slick thanks to Glen Ballard's collaboration, and it's not a groundbreaking album. But then, have any Dave Matthews albums been groundbreaking?

For the most part, "Everyday" is a pretty good CD. It's not exploring new territory, and it's not playfully jammy like older DMB albums, but it's still good stuff. The songs are catchy, the melodies interesting, the musicianship extremely solid.

I happen to be a fan of Sting and Bruce Hornsby -- and thank goodness, because the second half of the album may as well be by one of them, save for Matthews' squinty growls. When you have someone like Carter Beauford manning the drums, you can pull off syncopation pretty well. This band is smooth.

The album will be a singles machine, as Ballard's involvement intends it to be. "I Did It" is bland but fun enough and "The Space Between" has a grandiose swirl that will play well to the power-ballad set.

So why am I conflicted?

Blame Ballard. "Everyday" does indeed sound slick, produced and professional. That strips it of the whimsical, winking touches of earlier DMB tunes, like the many "Last Stops" in the song of that name, or sassy lyrics like "Hike up your skirt a little more, and show your world to me" on "Crash." In short, it's not as fun.

And for all its production, the album has its imperfections. There are songs with sweeping keyboards and songs with verse-chorus transitions so abrupt that no band could play them live. Yawn.

Like the rest of the music critics out there, I, too, am disappointed. But hey, it is nice having a new Dave Matthews Band CD to listen to instead of reaching back seven years to hear "Best of What's Around" for the thousandth time. I'm still a fan, and I look forward to their next album, too.

March 22, 2001


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Copyright © 2001 David Wertheimer. All rights reserved.