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music reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: Everyday

Artist: Dave Matthews Band
Genre: Rock
Release Date: February 2001

Review by LarryG
2½ stars out of 4

The Dave Matthews Band have developed a huge following as skilled musicians playing pleasant songs with a positive vibe, kind of a lighter, tighter Grateful Dead. Their modesty is both a source of appeal and a limit on it. On Everyday, the sound is even mellower and tighter than usual. Even with many songs about breakups and tense relationships, Everyday usually has an upbeat, enjoyable sound. When the music stays relaxed, Everyday is easy to listen to. It falters when the music or subject matter becomes too serious.

The band made Everyday with Glen Ballard, who produced huge successes for Alanis Morissette and Wilson Phillips, after scrapping sessions they'd done with longtime producer Steve Lillywhite. Everyday reflects the pop sensibility of its producer as well as the success of Crash Into Me and Crush, atmospheric ballads from DMB's last two studio CDs that are among the best and most successful songs the band's ever done. Everyday's filled with good sounding, evocative ballads. Everyday's ballads fall a bit short of the transcendence of Crush and Crash Into Me but they're quite good, benefitting from the Ballard's pop smarts and Matthews' likable persona. The Space Between, one of Everyday's songs about trying to win a woman back, is the most like Crash Into Me. It's similarly delicate and likably unhurried. Matthews repeats a graceful guitar line as he warns her "you cannot quit me so quickly" and reminds her "the space between the tears we cry is the laughter that keeps us coming back for more." The simplest songs on Everyday are my favorites. Angel is extremely charming, with a nice, easy mood. The music and lyric are distilled to a clear essence. Matthews admits "I lose my luck when you're not here." Ballard's piano and Leroi Moore's horns create a modest elegance on the chorus as Matthews asks, "why do I beg like a child for your candy?" Everyday finishes on a high note with the title track. Matthews' "all you need is love" refrain is nothing new but it crystalizes Matthews' desire to keep things simple and upbeat. Vocals from South African singer Vusi Mahlasela and fluid guitar, horns and Carter Beauford drums create a joyful feel.

Even Everyday's more unassuming ballads are appealing. Matthews is sweet on the laid back When The World Ends Over, promising that until the end, he'll be with his love. Nothing really happens on Fool To Think, the saddest of the breakup songs, but with Moore's cool horn, it has Satellite's smooth, jazzy feel. Sleep To Dream Her is appropriately dreamlike. Good stacatto, jerky playing indicates the agitation beneath Matthews' attempt to take solace in recalling the woman who left.

Everyday is on less steady ground when Matthews tries for more lyrical meaning and musical intensity. I Did It is the only nonballad on Everyday that really works. It's good because the band don't take themselves too serious. I Did It is the latest of DMB's fun, weird rockers. It has the mischievous feel of Under The Table and Dreaming's What Would You Say. I Did It is repetitive(the video gets bored and fades the song out 30 seconds before it's over) and Matthews is a little cutesy, pleading "guilty as charged" to needing to spread love, but I Did It has a fun mood. Matthews has a good time with the trippy feel, singing about overcoming "the skewers of our dreams" with "a magic mushroom cloud of care" and the band creates a good loose, textured groove. Matthews' gift is for cool, relaxed work. He fails when he tries for too much meaning. I've been skipping tracks 4-7 and 11. Dreams Of Our Fathers uses a favorite Matthews writing trick, mixing edgy sections with smoother ones. He alternates a fast, nightmarish free association rap with a boring chorus about not wanting "to wake up lost in the dreams of our fathers." So Right has a sinister rock verse about dancing tonight "because tomorrow we may die" then an uplifting chorus, like on Before These Crowded Street's Stay, celebrating that "our love is so right." Boyd Tinsley's violin and Moore's horns give the overly dramatic song more appeal than it deserves. If I Had It All is the least of Everyday's quieter songs, an OK, meandering Matthews meditation. I'm not that interested in knowing that while Matthews sometimes feels powerless, if things were great he'd have nothing to sing about and nothing to live for. On What You Are, Matthews bemoans that since becoming famous, people are always look to him for wisdom then he's glad to give his insipid advice: "when you live life, then you beome what you are." Tinsley's violins, meant to add tension, just make What You Are more irritating. Mother Father is exactly what you would expect from a song, with a guest appearance from Carlos Santana, trying to make sense of the world. The guitar line is smooth but extremely typical of Santana's work. The song is a lengthy set of variations on the question why is life "so beautiful and yet so full of sad" things.

A large part of Dave Matthews' appeal is that he seems like a good, regular guy. His voice is unshowy and decent but unremarkable. Everyday is appealing when the goal is modest, sincere, good sounding music. Ballard will be criticized for Everyday's shortcomings but he makes the record sound good. It's probably not his fault when Matthews' writing and presentation become heavy handed.



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