Sunday, June 14, 2009

Under the Table and Dreaming.

I remember clearly the first cassette tapes I ever bought for myself when I was in elementary/middle school. Hootie & the Blowfish's Cracked Rear View. The Cranberries' No Need to Argue. Counting Crows' August and Everything After. No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom. And the blurred carnival swings of Dave Matthews Band's Under the Table and Dreaming. I listened to side A and side B of that cassette before I knew it was cool to like Dave Matthews Band (high school, especially with the band kids) and long before I knew it was uncool to like Dave Matthews Band (college at a private school, where it was uncool to like most things mainstream except in a hip ironic way, although if I had joined the crowd and gone to a public state school, Dave Matthews Band might have stayed a little bit cool, at least one can assume from the masses of college kids who attend all of their concerts). Back in the day, before they started releasing songs with titles like Dream Girl and American Baby, I attended ridiculous huge stadium DMB concerts in New York and Philadelphia and Hershey and I know I've outgrown that phase of my life - none of the bands I really listen to play stadium shows and if they did I couldn't afford the tickets - but sometimes I wonder why. I mean, really, they were pretty fun. And sometimes, randomly, I listen to this record again, like I did earlier this week driving back from the coast to Portland on Route 6 through Tillamook State Forest. This is a road full of twists and turns which sometimes makes you sick to your stomach but which I'm getting more used to driving on now. It is also a pretty much beautiful drive, following the Wilson River and surrounding you with big forested hills. It is, essentially, a good road for Under the Table and Dreaming.

I'm not sure what it is but this album sets me at ease when I am in transit. It's one of those albums everyone in my family likes so we usually popped it in on road trips, settling into a comfortable silence while it spun. In particular it takes me back to road trips with my brother through the west and California, or any time I felt really and truly far away from everything, in a good way. Sometimes it makes me feel like I am in Pennsylvania in the fall and it is late afternoon and everything seems golden and pretty. It sounds simple to say it makes me feel relaxed, but, well, sometimes feeling relaxed is a totally underestimated emotion. When the weather is just right and I'm on the road and listening to this album I can imagine I'm one of those dudes who are perpetually tan and happy with good hair who take a year off to move to Hawaii to surf, or move to Colorado to ski a lot, just cause. And let's be honest, I want to be one of those dudes a lot.

Musical notes: If there were more songs like Ants Marching being released as big radio hits today, radio would be better. Rhyme & Reason is, like, really really angry/scary. Lover Lay Down is still one of the sleepiest, sweetest love songs I've heard. And, if in the right mood (ie., if I was sad), I could listen to Pay For What You Get on repeat for hours.


  1. It makes me a little sad that DMB = uncool now. Because I feel relaxed and nostalgic when I listen to this album and Crash too.

  2. Ditto, Jill(s). A bunch of my friends in library school in CT still went to the huge, arena DMB concert this year, and we were talking about how awesome Under the Table and Dreaming still is. Even though I don't really like much but this one, Crash, and the massively underrated Before These Crowded Streets (Don't Drink the Water is SO SCARY SOUNDING.), listening to DMB is my suburbia nostalgia trip.

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  4. jill and allie: yes, yes, and yes. i also love crash and before these crowded streets. crash makes me super nostalgic for a specific time because there was an entire fall in high school where it was all i listened to. and musically, i think before these crowded streets is the best, although apparently dave matthews was real depressed and messed up when he wrote/recorded it and so doesn't like it that much. but yes, don't drink the water = terrifying. anyway, i thought this entry would make me sound pretty uncool, so your replies comfort me.

  5. i used to listen to DMB all the time in high school until emerson told me it wasn't cool to listen to them. but i still have all the cds and about a year ago luis found them, crash, mainly and listened to it and asked why he'd never heard it before. but still, everytime i hear ants marching i get excited and have to sing along.
    we'll see you in like, 12 hours!