In every man’s life there comes a time when he must ask himself a hard question. For me, that question occurred out of the blue, prompted by a headline on Facebook. It is this:
Do I still consider myself a fan of the Dave Matthews Band?
I responded to myself with an apoplectic, “Of course I do!” Then, I stopped and thought about it. I couldn’t remember the last time I had actually listened to one of the band’s songs. I mean, really listened, or possibly even sang along with.
In fact, as I considered the prospect, I came to realize that most (if not all) of the time, when DMB song came up on my random play, I skipped it. I could not recall any instances in recent memory where I had not done so. I often skip songs, however, depending on the mood I’m in. Maybe I just haven’t been in the mood to listen to DMB lately. All the time.
If you’re never in the mood for something, does that mean you don’t like it?
Okay, this post could go a really weird way from here, but I’ll stick to the topic at hand. Without having the benefit of scientific data (I’m not sure iTunes’ play, skip and other “statistics” are that reliable, especially across multiple devices), it’s hard to say, but I’m pretty sure I’ve skipped DMB songs in a variety of moods. If so, then that seems to indicate my tastes have changed, rather than it being merely a mood thing.
Which is kind of sad. I used to really, really like DMB. Not only did I like listening to the band’s songs, they were my go-to in many cases. Hell, I even practiced hard to master—well, muddle through—the absurd fingerings for “Satellite” when I was first learning to play guitar. And I saw them in concert. Once. In 1996 (or 7?).
This is sad for me because, let’s be honest, DMB were legit mainstream alternative back in the day. I mean, when “What Would You Say?” came out on the radio, there was nothing like it being played to a wide audience. Sure, people grouped DMB loosely with Blues Traveler (John Popper even played harmonica on WWYS) and a few other bands, but they had a distinct sound. It was unconventional music, in a totally acceptable sort of way.
Perhaps that’s why I don’t like DMB anymore, because their sound has become too vanilla. Meh, I don’t think so. I’m an unabashed pop culture fiend. While I certainly like stuff on the fringe, I’ve never been the snobbish type to stick my nose up at something merely because it is popular or even basic. Besides, I still listen to plenty of stuff from the same era — Counting Crows, Hootie & the Blowfish, others that don’t come immediately to mind — without skipping it.
Okay, so let’s test this. Let me play a song. (Listening…listening.) Nope. Didn’t get all the way through it. Dang it.
I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. My ambivalence (I can’t quite call it distaste) towards DMB is either ineffable or its effability escapes me. I shall have to ponder more.