This is a big day, and a big post, for me. It has to be fate. I could not have planned this better if I tried. I kid you not, this is exactly the 41st post of my blog. Coincidentally, “#41” is my favorite song, and was the 41st song written by the Dave Matthews Band. There is so much that is right about this, it’s not even funny.
Before I get started on gushing over this song, let me just mention that most DMB fans truly enjoy this song. Among the diehards, “#41” is one of the clear-cut favorites. I could hear this song at every concert, over and over. I just love it. That being said…
Song Meaning: As mentioned in the link provided, “#41” was written with a lawsuit – involving a former manager, who encouraged Dave to start a band – in mind. As to not take up too much space here… Wikipedia does a nice job summing it up here.
Live Version 1:
Live Version 2:
Total Play Count: 572
Album Ranking: 1/12
Where to begin, where to begin. First of all… when of the lines of the song, is the subtitle to this blog. I guess that’s a good place to start. I think this is easily the best song on Crash… and the best song in the entire DMB catalog. Once again, that’s just me. Moving on…
Any time I hear the rolls on the hi-hat… followed be a little kick-drum… followed by a saxophone slowly building up a crescendo into the beginning of the song… I get very happy.
The saxophone in this song is just awesome. The older versions (studio, Live Version 1) really display the beauty and perfection that is LeRoi Moore. He nailed this part on the studio album, and really let it shine during every live performance. That’s one of the best things about LeRoi, whenever you heard him play live, you could just close your eyes and be transported. That’s why music is so powerful and amazing. Artists like the late Roi Moore can take you to a magical place, with the sounds they can create. I just love it.
In the more recent versions of the song (with Jeff Coffin and Tim Reynolds), the solos have a much more raw feel to them, in the best way possible. I’ll just leave it as that, seeing as how I’m only supposed to be focusing on the studio version.
Which, by the way, is extremely difficult when dealing with your favorite song, by your favorite band.
In terms of the lyrics, or at least the way Dave sings them… I love it. Once again, the older versions display Dave’s more matured voice, and feature more screams than falsetto. On the studio version of “#41,” Dave breaks out the high voice on certain parts, which doesn’t really bother me too much. I refuse to say anything bad about this song.
What’s unique about this song, is that the lyrics kind of just end. There’s no real chorus, or refrain, or anything. It’s basically just one big blob of lyrics, and that’s pretty awesome. You really have to think about it and break it down to realize there is no set chorus, no structure other than the music itself. After the final line is sung, the music continues, which is often followed by some solos.
What makes this song so great (and my favorite) is the emotion you feel from listening to it. You can’t clearly distinguish that it’s about a lawsuit with a former friend/manager. When you hear Dave sing, you just listen (or at least I do). You can close your eyes and just feel the emotion coming out of it. The words are written in a way that sort of mask the true meaning of the song. It has a playful feel to it, that keeps the listener from knowing that it’s about the heart-break felt from having a legal dispute with an old friend.
The blend this song has, compared to others, really sends it home. If you listen to an amazing live version (I wish I could think of one right off the top of my head, or after looking through my catalog for 20 minutes, but I can’t), you can feel Dave’s emotion as he sings, undercut by the amazing sax part for this song. That… paired with the soothing violin undertones, and the impeccable percussion/bass backups. It just makes for a fantastic musical voyage.
As always, I encourage you to do a little digging on all the songs I review, but especially “#41.” The reason I don’t make these posts longer, including all the history of the songs, when they were written, songs they’ve stemmed from, etc… is because other websites already do that. Other great websites, for that matter (DMB almanac, Ants Marching, etc.). Even Wikipedia has some great back-stories for these songs. If you’re really interested in learning more about the band, and its music, do some searching.
Now, if you’re going to listen to any song ever by the Dave Matthews Band, “#41,” would be one of my suggestions. If I had to choose one song to listen to the rest of my life, I would choose “#41.” That’s just me. Maybe you feel differently about this song. I don’t care. Maybe you like it, but don’t love it. I don’t care. I love this song more than any other song I’ve ever heard, and that’s that.
Song Rating: 10/5 (adjusted score: 5/5)
Next Song: it doesn’t matter, we just did the best (actual next song: “Say Goodbye”)