4: Before These Crowded Streets (Dave Matthews Band)

Album: Before These Crowded Streets
Artist: Dave Matthews Band
Year: 1998

1. Pantala Naga Pampa
2. Rapunzel
3. The Last Stop
4. Don’t Drink the Water
5. Stay (Wasting Time)
6. Halloween
7. The Stone
8. Crush
9. The Dreaming Tree
10. Pig
11. Spoon

The final album by Dave Matthews before he decided to try and become pop-friendly, Before These Crowded Streets succeeds brilliantly at being anything but. With the exception of Pantala Naga Pampa, which is a short-intro, every song is at least five minutes long, with five being over seven minutes. Guest musicians abound, including a recently popular one named Alanis Morissette. Many instruments are used to fill out the sound, including trumpets, orchestral strings, an organ, and several types of guitars. And the album is meant to be listened to as an album, as nearly every song has an outro that leads into the next song. Obviously, they were still able to cut a few singles up for the radio, but something got lost on each one in the transition.

Rapunzel is an up-tempo mildly erotic song and provides great energy. The Last Stop is a graphic, angry, anti-war protest song that features Dave Matthews performing an interesting deep growl. Don’t Drink the Water continues the anger, detailing horrific battles to destroy and occupy land taken from Native Americans by Europeans.

Thinks calm down a bit with Stay, but then Halloween is another angry, raw, profane song about Dave’s torment with an ex who turned down his marriage proposals.  The Stone and Crush bring back some simplicity about relationships.. Crush is one of the band’s most popular songs, thanks to a fantastic bass and saxophone opening.  The Dreaming Tree follows on its heels with another easy melody.

The album ends on a really strong note with Pig and Spoon. Alanis provides a pretty solid solo for the latter and is more proof this album wasn’t about Dave Matthews but great music. It’s too bad it couldn’t stay that way.

One thought on “4: Before These Crowded Streets (Dave Matthews Band)”

  1. I have this album and I can’t place a single song on it. I inherited it in a weird situation at college, listened to it a couple of times, really liked it and forgot all about it. I wonder if I even know where it is.

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