There are a few things in life I will never understand. Why buttered toast always lands butter side down, the Kardashians, Donald Trump’s hair and why Dave Matthews band is so popular. That last one is truly a head scratcher for me. Despite the fact that all of his songs sound the same, each with a sax solo seemingly longer than the last, his fans remain dedicated and spend their hard earned money to see the gargle into a microphone.
I just. don’t. get it.
Not only do these Dave lovers line up and willingly admit their love for him (which is embarrassing in itself), they do so with the enthusiasm of an over-caffeinated high school cheerleader. It begs the simple question of, why? I’ve heard it all. It’s the experience. His lyrics speak to me. It’s so chill. So many of his shows sell out. That voice. He’s a Grammy winning artist.
His tour bus also dumped 800 pounds of human waste into the Chicago River, drenching individuals on an architectural boat tour. Just wanted to remind you of that.
Before I continue, I’d like to clarify something here. I don’t only listen things that I consider to be musically impressive. It doesn’t have to be a groundbreaking song, full of complex chords, vocal leaps, trills and riffs. I will happily sing the lyrics to Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy as loud as the next guy, and I’ll be even happier to suggest listening to it again 5 minutes later. Heck, if you scroll down a bit, you can see that I made the sugar coated Call Me Maybe a song of the day. However, I do think a group that has a cult following – that’s what it is, a cult – should be able to display why the group is worthy of said minions.
Allow me to go through the reasons I’ve listed above. I’ve heard many more, but those seem to be the ones that are constantly hurled in my direction in an effort to make me join the band of followers. Nuh uh, not happening.
It’s the experience: I understand the great feeling fans get from going to a show. One of their all-time favorite musicians is on stage, pouring his or her heart out and they’re surrounded by people who all share a similar love. It’s euphoric. It bonds the members of the audience and can be extremely memorable. Notice I didn’t say this was the result of attending a DMB show. I said it was the result of attending a show. Couldn’t a diehard John Mayer fan get the same feeling at one of his concerts? Or Usher? Or a fan of a band with an extremely small following? I would argue yes. How is the DMB experience any different than the others?
His lyrics speak to me: I’m a huge lyric person. I catch myself paying as much attention to the words as I am to the melody. Are his lyrics the worst out there? No, not at all. Are they the best? No, not at all. Does their overall mediocrity constitute a cult following? Once again, no, not at all.
It’s so chill: This is one of my favorite reasons. You’re right. It isn’t heavy metal, hard rock or intense rap. There isn’t a loud bass and Matthews never turns into a punk rock screamer. That’s what I gather when you tell me it’s so chill. Well, so are a lot of things. In this case, I think DMB is considered to be “chill” because so many of the songs sound the same, meaning it doesn’t require much, if any, effort to listen to it.
So many of his shows sell out: Hannah Montana’s shows sold out within minutes. No further explanation needed.
That voice: That voice? That distorted sound? It sounds like a yodeler with a mouth full of marbles.
He’s a Grammy-winning artist: So is Britney Spears.
I can recall a number of times where I let it slip that I don’t like Dave Matthews Band to a diehard DMB cult member. One person ignored me for 2 weeks and actually closed a door on me, another insisted upon playing it every time I was in his car while explaining why I should like it, and countless others have stared at me, dumbfounded, as if I told them I was going to go home and perform a lobotomy on myself.
My dislike for the group has come up multiple times throughout the past few weeks, so this explanation was beyond necessary. I believe it can be summed up rather quickly. I don’t understand the cult fascination with mediocrity nor do I understand why Matthews feels the need to make all of his songs sound identical. Or the need to make so many of them over 5 minutes long with a sax solo. As the wise Vanilla Ice once rhythmically said, “anything less than the best is a felony.” Unless, of course, you’re talking to a DMB fan…in which case everything less than the best is applauded, praised and voraciously followed.