Review Summary: “Stand Up” is in many ways the album that Dave Matthews Band fans wish they never made.
This decade has been a difficult one for Dave Matthews Band. After releasing three excellent albums in the 90’s that were each better than before, the band began a downward spiral with the 2000 release “Everyday.” Although “Busted Stuff” was an improvement on the very average “Everyday,” Dave Matthews Band was in need of a comeback album. Unfortunately, “Stand Up” would prove to be well below the band’s ability, featuring some of the worst vocals, lyrics, and instrumentation of the band’s career. Much of the record seems uninspired, and lacks the emotion that made the other albums so great.
“Stand Up” is a bit of an atypical Dave Matthews Band record, it’s made up of 14 tracks, only two of which exceed five minutes. There isn’t much expansion in any of these tracks, and even the longer songs don’t amount to much. Old Dirt Hill
is a great example of this. The record’s second track is a love song in which utilizes a hip-hop beat. The message of the song is quite pleasant, “From the first time I kissed you I lost my legs,” but Old Dirt Hill
is an indication that Dave Matthews Band is trying to rediscover themselves. You Might Die Trying
is possibly the best constructed song on “Stand Up,” but suffers due to poor singing and virtually no emotion. The lyrics are even enough to bring the track down as well, “Once you get your gate, you will walk in tall. You said you never did, cause you might die trying, cause you might die trying.” Hello Again
proves to be another example of this; it is a redundant track in which is subject to the same type of lyrics as You Might Die Trying
. “Hello again, it’s been too long, too long, too long. Hello again.” The piano laden Out of My Hands
seems as though it will develop into a great song, but doesn’t build to anything and is a bit lifeless.
Closer Hunger for the Great Light
is one of the few highlights of the record, it makes great use of a catchy electric guitar and bass riff and is upbeat and fun throughout. “Stand Up’s” lead single American Baby
is a fairly solid track that is propelled by finger-picked violin and Carter’s outstanding drumming. The bridge is especially excellent, Carter’s drumming is absolutely sensational and Leroi’s sax solo is top-notch. Louisiana Bayou
is likely the most “fun” track here, its cheery nature is driven by Stephan Lessard’s grooving bassline, and Dave has a blast in the chorus, utilizing a high-pitch voice on “Down by the bayou!” The track offers a great deal of potential for solo sections at live performances, but no solos are implemented here.
“Stand Up” is in many ways the album that Dave Matthews Band fans wish they never made. Overproduction, no inspiration, lack of expansion, and missing passion are just several reasons why the record failed. Unfortunately, to this day the band has not reached the likes of “Before These Crowded Streets” and “Crash,” and “Stand Up” is just another indication of this.
American Baby Intro/American Baby
Hunger for the Great Light