Dave Matthews Band Album Review: Crash (1996)

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Crash, the second studio album from the Dave Matthews Band.

In green is my opinion.

In blue is my cousin Robert’s opinion.

In pink is my cousin George’s opinion.

We are all huge DMB fans. We know the band’s music very well.

Let’s start our track-by-track review!

So Much to Say

Tonight, Robby and I are likely going to have So Much to Say, as we’re both very familiar with this album. We start off Crash with So Much to Say, a fun song that gets the listener excited for the album. The acoustics are wacky, the sax is funky, and the lyrics are lighthearted. It’s a goofy song that is surprisingly layered. A lot is going on, but as is often the case with this band, the jamming is spot-on. So Much to Say is a great song, an ideal track to set Crash in motion.

If I were to ever audition for The Voice, I would choose this song to sing. So Much To Say is a great way to start the album, and it is one of my favorite songs by the band. I love the acoustic guitar throughout the entire song as well as the fun lyrics that go along with it. Of course, the brass instruments are great as well. I honestly would not mind hearing an all-acoustic version of So Much To Say. It is a fun and easy song to sing along to. Whenever this song is playing, I am always singing along with it no matter what!

There’s So Much to Say about this song. It starts with a complex guitar riff and then erupts into a catchy party tune. Its unique lyrics combined with LeRoi’s smooth baritone saxophone make this song a perfect album opener.

Two Step

Two Step begins with a heavy drop of epic proportions. Intense guitar paired with distant vocalizations create a mood that is unmatched by any other Dave Matthews Band song. This song is a flurry of emotion and music. The frequent changes in tempo, the violin plucking, the lyrics, everything is of high stature. The listener can feel Carter’s drive on the drums. Two Step is an anthem of celebration that is not solely happy. There are dark overtones present that enhance the song, though they aren’t very apparent technically. I assure you, however, they are there. Listen for yourself. Feel the darkness. Two Step is an amazing song that is masterful in its execution.

Man, where do I begin with Two Step? Two Step is just pure musical genius! It starts with an epic intro that progressively gets better and better. The lyrics are beautiful and the jams that come with them are timeless. I love the violin plucking, the drums, the guitar, and everything else. Words cannot describe how mind-blowing this song is. Just listen to the song. I assure you that it will blow your mind.

One word to describe Two Step: EPIC. This song has a nice dark feel that progressively intensifies throughout the song. Stefan’s bomb-dropping bass lines are locked in with Carter’s drums. This lethal combination holds down the upbeat rhythm of this song.

Crash into Me

The Dave Matthews Band radio hit. On this track, Dave Matthews tells it like it is. Some of his most memorable lyrics stem from this song. The lyrics I’m referring to are, of course, the boyishly honest ones.  The words are iconic for a reason, as the band restrains themselves from jamming too hard as to not overpower the words. Stefan kills Crash into Me with his bass in a positive way. The song isn’t exactly for my demographic, as I feel the ladies have claimed this song whether I like it or not. Regardless, Crash into Me is very clear as to what kind of action it is trying to spur. A solid song.

Ahhh…you’ve got to love when Dave sings about sex because it is always funny and magical. I have friends who, for some reason, do not like this band (crazy, I know), but they love this song. The bass is unforgettable, the guitar is great, and the lyrics are naughty, which is why people have fallen in love with them. It is a fan favorite because of how slow and sexy it is. The love doctor has nothing to say about this song other than how love is fantasy, and only you can make it a reality. Even if you find the lyrics hard to relate to, it’s undoubtedly a wonderful love song. So now I say Craaaaassssshhhh Into Me!

This is the anthem of the album. This song tells the story of Dave falling in love with his wife. The entire song is filled with bright and happy sounds, which always puts me in a peaceful mindset.

Too Much

Too Much is a song that has a life of its own. The guitar is sporadic, the horns are off the hook, and the violin is frantic. Dave’s vocals are all over the place in the best way possible. He doesn’t try to calm his “Dave-ness” one bit, giving us as song that is fun in the DMB way. The song could be a giant WTF-bomb for an ear untrained to this band, but fans and those who are beginning to delve into DMB’s music will understand that this is a fun jam that is “them” in every fashion. 

Too Much, much like Shake Me Like a Monkey, makes me get up and dance every time. The groove is catchy, absolutely bringing the funk! This is another fun song to listen to. If this was played at a club, it would get everyone up on their feet, even if they’re all bad dancers like me! As usual, the lyrics are funny and the band’s touch of musical magic makes it even better. I know for sure that Too Much will make you laugh.

Too Much starts with an explosive intro which then breaks down into a funky jam. I don’t know what the lyrics mean, or if they are supposed to mean anything at all, but it doesn’t matter. I’m always down to vibe to this song, as it gets me on my feet. Boyd Tinsley also plays some wild violin on this song.

#41

The ambient opening of #41 is pierced by sensual saxophone, a perfect start for the most beloved Dave Matthews Band song. The sax dominates the song, and that is no small feat, as it conquers Dave’s strong vocals, Carter’s fiery drumming, and the engaging guitar. It is clear that Dave poured his soul into #41. Boyd’s violin solo is lovely, and I don’t use that word often (sure, I live in California, but I wasn’t born here). #41 is filled with passion. The music is undeniably great, but it isn’t the music that people have fallen in love with. It’s the passion that is channeled through the music. This isn’t poetic junk I am creating. This is real stuff. This song isn’t about one thing. It doesn’t seem to tell one specific story. It is one of the few songs I have heard in my lifetime that means a different thing to everybody. If it hasn’t already, #41 will grow on you if you allow it to.

Remember how earlier I said that Two Step is a genius blend of music? Well #41 is a musical masterpiece. Every time I hear this song, I cannot help myself from tearing up a bit. I do not know what about the song makes me do this, but it is amazing how all of the instruments come together with Dave’s sweet voice. The jams are always unforgettable, and they leave me in awe. I honestly cannot describe how great this song is in words because it leaves me speechless. It always sucks me into its wonderful sound. I wish I could say more about this masterpiece, but I can’t find the words for it. Remember how magical Stairway To Heaven Is? This song may not be like that, but it does have that lasting appeal that makes it timeless. Honestly, if you hate this song then you clearly do not know crap about music and should be deeply ashamed of yourself.

This track, in my opinion, is the best song on the album and one of my all-time favorites. The overall groove of this song makes me nod my head right away. Dave Matthews is one of the only song writers I know who could turn the word “yeah” into a powerful chorus.

Say Goodbye

I love the tropical sound that is created by Carter’s experimental drumming along with LeRoi’s flute. Say Goodbye is unlike any other DMB song in sound, in lyricism, and in essence. The story told is a bold one. Dave was very honest in his writing across this whole album, as his lyrics reflect thoughts that not many would pour out to even their closest friends, let alone the world. This is the case with both Crash Into Me and Say Goodbye. In this particular song, Dave’s proposal is made to be pleasant by the fun, tropical music. The music matches the escape/vacation vibe that is created by the lyrics. I would have liked for the sound to remain on the quieter side, as it shifts to being louder at the latter end of the song, but Say Goodbye is still a solid song that by no means bogs down the album.

Say Goodbye sounds like it could be off of Before These Crowded Streets because of the intro. At first listen, I did not like this song. I gave it another careful listen, however, and enjoyed it. To me it has that African sound, which makes sense since Dave was born in South Africa. It is a slow and easy song to get into because it is not loud or heavy. It’s pleasant sounding. Dave sends us a great message through this song, and I wish the band played it live more often. You may not like it at first since it is slow, but once you understand the lyrics, it will grow on you.

This song’s a cool one. Carter’s percussion work in this song along with LeRoi’s flute playing give this song an interesting vibe. It reminds me of the color blue.

Drive In, Drive Out

The main guitar riff and the chorus are the only things this song has going for it. It’s too overbearing from the start to get a grasp on. The sections that follow, both the calmer ones and the jammy ones, are nonsense. The band had no idea what they were doing on this track. It’s a mush of noise. If the second half of the song was a jam DMB was to play in concert, I would be fine with it. On the record, however, the base of the song was quickly abandoned, thus making the jam weaker than it would have been if it were stemming from strong material. They had a solid riff that they quickly strayed away from for no apparent reason. Carter’s quip at the end is hilarious, however. Drive In, Drive Out should not have made it onto the album.

I feel that not many people like this song, but I am not one of those people. What I love about this song is the guitar, the drums, and the violin. The way these three sounds come together is interesting. Drive in Drive Out may get repetitive at times, but the tempo does change often, which enhances the song. Boyd can really play the crap out of his violin. Another thing I like about this song is that you never know what kind of sound is going to come from it. It’s unpredictable.
Drive In Drive Out has another catchy guitar riff in the intro. This song has a strong beat to it that transforms into a crazy ending groove with a weird time signature. This track shows the musicianship of every member of the band.
Let You Down
 –
The first thing I noticed about Let You Down were the acoustics. They resemble the acoustics from Jack Johnson’s song Cookie Jar. Of course, this album came many years before Cookie Jar, but it was worth mentioning. Pushing Cookie talk aside, Let You Down is a fantastic song. Dave’s voice is haunting, the acoustics are crisp, and the music is sad. Let You Down is an underrated Dave Matthews Band song that doesn’t get nearly enough love. This is a fairly new song to me at the moment, and I am floored at how little buzz this track gets. Let You Down is depressing. This is a dark track that could fit into the Lillywhite Sessions, which came years after this album’s debut.
 –
This is another song I always skipped for some reason, and I regret that. I now realize how beautiful and sad it is. I know I cannot relate to it, but we all know that I almost always love a song that is slow and sad. Another aspect that makes this song great is LeRoi’s saxophone playing. I will admit that Let You Down is repetitive, but it is still a good song. I also love how there is whistling toward the end.
 –
Let You Down is probably my least favorite on this album. This song kind of bored me, and I never go out of my way to listen to it. It does have some nice sax fills by LeRoi at the end though.
Lie in Our Graves

Shout out to Georgie. This right here is your song. You play a bunch of stuff, but this will always be the song. Summer of 2013 will always be defined by Lie in Our Graves. Lie in Our Graves is a celebratory song driven by the complex acoustics that never grow stale. Dave delivers both lyrically and vocally, carrying the song just as well as the other band members. Carter’s drumming shouldn’t be overlooked, as it is impressive. Lie in Our Graves flaunts the whole band. Boyd’s violin playing is on fire, Stefan’s bass shines throughout the whole track, and LeRoi’s accents don’t go unnoticed. The instrumental breakdown on this song is something that is memorable and epic in its own way. The way the song is brought back around is a feat in itself. Lie in Our Graves is a powerful track that will be cherished in the hearts of my cousins and I for years to come. 

This song will always remind me of Juck and I’s cousin George. George loves playing this song. Lie in Our Graves is a wonderful acoustic-heavy song. The lyrics are pleasant as usual, and the rest of the band contributes a lot to them. Just like So Much To Say, I would not mind if this song was simply Dave and Tim playing on their acoustics. Some parts of the song remind me of Grey Street. Lie in Our Graves may have helped to inspire it musically. It also fits as a welcoming song, as it did when I arrived in California, or as a departing song. A perfect example of this can be seen in the video log from the California vacation.

Ahhh. Yet another classic, and another one of my all-time favorites. This song is one the happiest songs about death ever. Boyd Tinsley rips some crazy solos on this tune, and I can sing along to it all day. My favorite aspect of this tune is the reprise at the end. Just when you think it’s all over, Dave and the band come back in unexpectedly and play another quick verse.

Cry Freedom

Cry Freedom has a lot of darkness pouring from it. I dig the way Dave sings the lyrics. Throughout the song, Dave sounds like Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. In fact, Cry Freedom has many elements that are similar to Pearl Jam’s Black. The hints of electric guitar, the structure of the song, and the melancholy tone all resemble Black. Cry Freedom has a vibe that is unique in comparison to the band’s more typical style, yet the vibe works. Cry Freedom is a solid track.

I am most likely one of the few fans who really adore this song. When I first gave Crash a listen, I automatically fell in love with this song. Dave’s voice is beautiful, along with the soft drums, bass, and guitar. What I also love about this song are the lyrics. Dave once again delivers a strong message. I love how soft this song is. It sounds so much like a ballad. I am not 100% sure if this could be considered a ballad, otherwise I would have called it one, but that is why I love it so much. I was lucky enough to hear this live, and I am glad I did. I could just rest my head on a pillow, get in some cozy blankets, and fall asleep to this song. Many fans may not like this track, but it is one of my all-time favorites. I wish more songs were like this one.

This is another song that I’m not too crazy about. This song has a calming vibe to it, but I never got into it.

Tripping Billies

Ants Marching may be DMB’s anthem, but Tripping Billies is their party song. In a different way than Two Step, Tripping Billies is a song of celebration. On this track, the boys jam with joy. The excitement is felt in each note and each lyric. Boyd owns the song. Carter does a fantastic job, the sax gives the song power, and Dave makes the song his own, but Boyd kicks ass. That boy can play the violin. Tripping Billies is a great celebratory song that has rightfully earned a place in the hearts of fans.

I just love the energy this song brings. It makes you want to get up and jam the moment it starts. Tripping Billies has one of my favorite lines in it which are said by many: Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die! I love that line. If anybody were to say that Carter is not a good drummer, I would blast this song in their face! The intensity with which the band plays this song is impossible to learn. The band does not get any better than this. There are only a few songs from DMB that are more intense than Tripping Billies.

Amazing track. This is my second favorite song on the album. This song has another explosive intro similar to Too Much. Tripping Billies is the perfect concert opener, and BT once again rips some wild solos. The name of this song is pretty accurate, as it really does sound like a bunch of hillbillies on acid.

Proudest Monkey

Proudest Monkey has an entrancing bass line. Other than that, it does not have much else going for it. The lyrics aren’t relatable, the sound isn’t easy to latch onto, and it doesn’t stand out when put with these other great songs. It would have been better if the band left this song off of the record and ended Crash with Tripping Billies.

I will admit that this song has great lyrics and great music, and it is a good way to end such a timeless album. To be honest though, I am not a big fan of it, which may be a sin to DMB fans. It is just too slow for me to like. I know it is better live, but I still cannot seem to get into it. It’s just too repetitive, and only the guitar and sax keep me wanting to listen to this song. I know it is a shocker, but everyone has their own opinions and that is why I love reviews, because I can express those opinions. Anyway, thank you all for reading the first album review I have recommended (I knew  we were going to review it eventually). This certainly will not be the last time I recommend an album, and I hope you all enjoyed this one. Thank you all for reading and remember: Eat, drink, and be merry!

Proudest Monkey is the perfect way to end this album. It is nice, chill, and easy to listen to. This song has evolved greatly since its original recording, as it now features solos from Rashawn and Tim during the live show. Dave seems to have a fascination with monkeys, but regardless, this song is a calm, meaningful ending to a masterpiece of an album.

My Top 3

Two Step

#41

Lie in Our Graves

Rob’s Top 3

So Much to Say

Tripping Billies

Cry Freedom

George’s Top 3

#41

Tripping Billies

Two Step

I wish I was alive when this album was released. The feeling I would have gotten when putting this record into the CD player would have been unforgettable. Regardless, Crash is amazing. This will remain one of the Dave Matthews Band’s best albums no matter what they put out in the future. Nearly every track packs a heavy punch that is complex, enjoyable, and unique. Crash is loved for countless reasons, all of which are valid. This album is an absolute Filet. Do yourself a favor and pick it up if you don’t already own it. You can thank me later.

~Juck

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