Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Dave Matthews Band|
Best of What's Around 1
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
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Great introduction for the casual DMB fan (if there is such
Paul Allaer | Cincinnati | 11/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's hard to keep track of all the Dave Matthews Band releases, both official and unoffical, studio or live. It's been less than 2 months since the release of the 4CD "Live Trax, Vol. 6" set of this summer's concerts at Fenway Park, and here comes yet another DMB release.
"The Best of What's Going Around, Vol. 1" (2 CDs, 20 tracks, 132 min.) is the first-ever compilation of DMB's studio work, augmented by an assortment of live tracks. CD1 (12 tracks, 61 min.) brings a chronological overview of some of DMB's best known studio tracks. The unfortunate thing is that each of the 6 studio albums are all deemed similarly important and each of them gets 2 studio tracks, as a result of which DMB's first two (and most essential) albums are under-represented. In particular 3 essential tracks are missing on this compilation in either studio or live versions: "Satellite" (from Under the Table and Dreaming), and "So Much To Say" and "Tripping Billies" (both from Crash). That aside, it is hard to argue with the 12 tracks that are on this compilation. CD2 (8 tracks, 71 min.) brings a seemingly hap-hazzard selection of live tracks, which is not to imply that the quality of the music included here isn't good. Highlights include the ever-crowd pleasing "Everyday" and "Ants Marching" (although do DMB fans needed yet another live version of the latter?).
Overall, this is quite a nice introduction of the Dave Matthews Band, at a very fan-friendly price. If the live disc seems unnecessary or unfocused, it is on the other hand unthinkable that an such compilation would not include a live section, given that for many fans hearing DMB in concert is what this band is all about. Given that this compilation is teasingly titled "Vol. 1", it is safe to say that fans will get another chance to put together other compilations of their favorite DMB music."
Fairly Typical Greatest Hits Compilation, with a few quality
A. G. Corwin | 11/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Few bands release more albums than DMB, which speaks volumes to their enthusiastic fan base. With annual live albums, it would appear DMB has pretty well covered the bases as far as their music goes, but with the release of The Best of What's Around, Vol.1, the fans have chosen some of the live tracks they love the most to appear on the double-disc. It makes for interesting listening, and is a solid pick-up for fans and those trying to navigate through the multitude of DMB releases.
Disc One is the studio track album, with 12 songs pulled from the spectrum of full-length albums. Each album gets two tracks, with the usual suspects making the cut. From Under the Table and Dreaming we get "Best of What's Around" and "What Would You Say." From Crash we get "Crash Into Me" and "Too Much", "Rapunzel" and "Crush" highlight Before These Crowded Streets, and Everyday contributes "So Right" and "The Space Between". Busted Stuff offers the excellent "Grey Street" and "Grace in Gone", and from Stand Up we see "Hunger for the Great Light" and "American Baby." For me, the exclusion of "Tripping Billies" is particularly egregious. Disc Two smartly offers live tracks that fill in some of the gaps from each album. The best versions are "Don't Drink The Water", "Two Step", "Ants Marching" and "Louisiana Bayou". Unfortunately, these are all songs we have heard many times on the live albums and they don't really add much to the compilation except for justifying its purchase price.
Overall, this album isn't amazing. It's the embodiment of the Itunes generation. It is fascinating hearing the evolution of the band through the six studio albums, and some of my favorite tracks are on the discs. Had this disc neglected "Crush", I would've put it back in the shelf right away. The studio tracks are not remixed and the sound quality is identical to the original album. The live mixes are fairly good, but again not impressive. This album feels like it was thrown together quickly with a profit motive in mind. Is this a must buy? For serious fans, sure. For casual fans this is a good addition to your collection, but you may want to download your own mix.
As Good as a Greatest Hits for DMB Could Be
Jared Wright | Indiana | 11/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Putting together a greatest hits package for Dave Matthews Band is no job to scoff at. Three innate problems come bundled with the task. Firstly, the band's discography is downright massive. The second problem comes with the fact that this huge discography features the same material over and over again, at least in name. The band's six studio albums are respectable bodies of work, to be sure, but they don't hold a candle to the goods brought by live release after live release. Not only must the right songs be chosen, but the right versions of the right songs have to be included. The third problem is that just throwing on the band's handful of radio singles will do nothing but alienate the avid DMB fan base, which in DMB's case is a pretty big chunk of their overall support. Even still, RCA, Dave and Co.'s label, wants to introduce some newcomers into the fold, and this package was the best way they thought to do it.
And really, the final product isn't horrendous. In fact, it's quite impressive. The offering is a double disc compilation, with one disc featuring twelve studio cuts. Two tunes each come from the group's six studio albums, from 1994's Under the Table and Dreaming to last year's inventive and somewhat debated Stand Up. Thankfully, the most radio friendly songs weren't necessarily the songs that made the cut. Oh, sure, "What Would You Say', "Gray Street", and last year's hit "American Baby" are here in full force, but so are "So Right", "Crush", and the compilation's namesake, "The Best of What's Around". These songs are certainly fan favorites, but they became that way through their continuous stunning live renditions and not through extensive radio play. The real cult classics such as "Dreaming Tree" aren't present, of course, but this is, after all, a greatest hits collection. At least they didn't by default include "Stay" or "I Did It", which both received significant radio play but have never quite been the peak of the mountain in the hearts of most devoted Dave Matthews Band fans.
The reason for DMB devotees to pick up this package is the second disc, which is comprised of eight live samplings selecting by the Dave Matthews Band fan association. The choices seem to come more from recent concerts rather than the material from the mid to late 90's, but as this information is fresh in the minds of people, (I certainly remember this past year's tour a little more vividly than 2000's), this is understandable. The only complaint is that the selected songs are songs which have already frequently been placed on other live releases. Sure, these versions of "Ants Marching", "Don't Drink the Water", and "Stay" are as brilliant as ever, and like all live DMB, they do bring a little something new that hasn't been demonstrated before. Nonetheless, there are rarities in the Dave Matthews Band setlists that only come out to play on special nights, and a few more of these wouldn't have been unwelcome. Perhaps a performance of the aforementioned "The Dreaming Tree"? Or maybe the superb "You Never Know?" or one of the truly hair-raising performances of "The Stone"?
The great thing though about Dave Matthews and his companions is that they can make the same songs sound fresh over and over. So don't be misled into thinking that just because "Two Step", "Warehouse", or "Ants Marching" are yet again included on this release that it's not worth hearing. This "Two Step", in fact, was the closer from a 2001 show at Giants Stadium, one that occurred in the middle of a downpour that could be described as torrential if any downpour can. Dave even references the rain within his improvised lyrics close to the song's beginning, and even someone who hasn't read numerous accounts of this landmark performance will get the impression they've heard something special as the ten minute masterpiece reaches its conclusion.
It's a fair assumption to think that most of DMB's loyalist would have just preferred another three disc live show from some fantastic tour or other. Even better if it was one they attended. But if you really haven't heard Dave at some point, the twelve studio samplings will give you an idea of what you're in for, and the live cuts should illustrate just why this group's live show is so widely respected. The Best of What's Around, Vol. 1 should by no means be considered a definitive compilation, but as an introduction for the newbie and just another edition for the veteran it will serve nicely. I will offer my sympathy, however, to those who didn't preorder the collection, since preorders shipped with an additional disc of live material which surpasses the official second disc by quite a significant margin, thanks mostly to jaw dropping versions of "#41" and "The Last Stop". Hey, there's always eBay, right?