Come Tomorrow

Dave Matthews Band

Bama Rags, 2018

http://davematthewsband.com

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/03/2018

I suppose this was always where Dave Matthews would end up, a singer-songwriter musing on his acoustic guitar about life, love, mortality and fatherhood. I suppose his fan base has grown up along with him, those of us who loved DMB in college in the late ’90s and early 2000s and who now have careers and kids of our own, perhaps a nagging health issue or ailing parents that serve to remind us of our own mortality.

But such maturity comes with the price of settling, and when the Dave Matthews Band settles, they do not create their best work. Continuing the trend started on Everyday, the band writes shorter, tighter songs that leave no space for jamming or improvisation, a hallmark of the band’s first three classic albums. The band also has lost the ability to surprise; much like U2, you hope for past glories to be reclaimed and you search – perhaps a bit too hard – for those moments of genius that enable you to defend an aging band to a snarky friend or younger person. nbtc__dv_250

I can’t see anyone recommending Come Tomorrow to anyone unfamiliar with the DMB, and those with a passing familiarity with the band will give this one a cursory listen and a shrug, then go back to Crash. Now, had this been released in the late ’90s (right around the Luther College years), it may have had more impact, but the luster has faded. We’re now stuck with Matthews caterwauling like a cat in heat on “That Girl Is You,” easily his most irritating vocal performance of all time, as well as a number of DMB-by-numbers songs like “Black And Blue Bird” “Again And Again,” “Here On Out” and “Idea Of You.”

For the curious, there are some moments of joy. “Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin),” while not a memorable song, has quite vivid lyrics from a father to a child that should strike a nerve with any dad. “She” is a gritty yet laconic rocker with a John Frusciante feel in the guitar riff courtesy of Tim Reynolds. “Can’t Stop” is the obligatory upbeat second track (every DMB album has one) and is expectedly solid, and “Virginia in the Rain” is surprisingly hypnotic, a six-minute meditation where the instruments float and Matthews croons, ably painting a picture of the title in the listener’s mind while also imploring his daughter not to grow up too fast. It’s a song of surprising depth and a reminder of the power this now-septet possesses.

Such moments are few and far between here, unfortunately, and Come Tomorrow is likely to occupy that space on your shelf next to Away From The World, Stand Up and Everyday, albums you bought as a fan but really don’t care about much these days. Other than “Virginia” and “She,” the best track here is the 27-second “bkdkdkdd,” an instrumental jam that sounds like the start of a really good song… only to abruptly stop and skid headlong into the dull “Black And Blue Bird.” That’s a metaphor for the whole album: glimpses of greatness that was, shoehorned into the sea of maturity that now is.

Rating: C-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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