Tag Archives: Remember Two Things

Review: Remember Two Things

Well… after all 10 parts of the Remember Two Things series, I can now review the entire album as a whole. My preview pretty much summed up the basic information about the album. Now I’m going to recap the setlist and my rankings, and then give some final words (like how the rest of my post-album reviews will go).

  1. Ants Marching (live) – 4/5
  2. Tripping Billies (live) – 3.5/5
  3. Recently (live) – 3.5/5
  4. Satellite – 3/5
  5. One Sweet World – 4/5
  6. The Song That Jane Likes – 3/5
  7. Minarets – 2/5
  8. Seek Up – 3/5
  9. I’ll Back You Up – 5/5
  10. Christmas Song – 3/5

The final ranking of this album – 3.4/5

I like Remember Two Things, but I don’t love it. It’s a classic, it’s got the beginning work of the Dave Matthews Band, but that’s about all it does for me. It doesn’t mean I don’t like it or I don’t like the music the band has made… I just really like the stuff coming up.

I hope you enjoyed the first series of reviews. Now, after a brief delay, the Under the Table and Dreaming reviews are coming up next.

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Remember Two Things, Part X: Christmas Song

In the final installment of the Remember Two Things song reviews, I look at “Christmas Song.”

This song is 100% about Jesus. It is the story of his life. Dave has said before that it is a “non-denominational tune,” but it clearly talks about his life. And if you don’t believe me… take a look at the lyrics:

When Jesus Christ was nailed to his tree

Said “oh, Daddy-o I can see how it all soon will be

I came to shed a little light on this darkening scene

Instead I fear I spill the blood of my children all around.

The lyrics are both powerful and meaningful. Dave has always pegged himself as an agnostic person, believing in some higher power, but not necessarily Jesus. He does, however, tell the story of the man’s life, which is very interesting.

It’s a very soothing song, not much musically deep about it. In this version of the song just Dave and Tim on guitar, and it never gets much more than that in live versions. Usually Carter will join in to sing, but it always stays as a quiet tune. Here are two videos… the first is the studio version of the song. The second is the band playing it live at the United Center in Chicago from 1998 (which is a live release album).

This song is great to hear in December (which I did back in 2005 in Boston). It adds a different level to the concert, even though it’s not about religion, but about the story of a very famous person, it still brings the concert up to another level.

All in all, I really like this song. It’s not one of my favorites, but it’s still very good. I don’t think it’s too much different from the studio and live versions, but whenever you hear it, chances are it will relax you and make you really listen and think about the lyrics at the same time.

Song Rating: 3/5

Next Song: “The Best of What’s Around” from Under the Table and Dreaming

Remember Two Things, Part IX: I’ll Back You Up

I think this is one of the most beautiful songs the Dave Matthews Band has in its arsenal.

This is the second song Dave wrote for DMB. Once again, he had written other songs before this, but as the history of the band goes… this was #2 behind STJL (The Song That Jane Likes).

That being said, I truly think this is a beautiful song. On Remember Two Things, it is only Dave and Tim Reynolds (his second-hand man… which you should have been able to tell from all the mentions of him so far in the history of this blog) playing the guitars, which make it even more beautiful. If you like this kind of music, and you like acoustic music as well, I STRONGLY suggest going out and buying one of three albums… Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds Live at Luther College or Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds Live at Radio City Music Hall or Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds Live in Las Vegas. Luther College really put Dave and Tim on the map, and really displays what they have together, but Radio City and Vegas are equally as awesome. Definitely check them out.

Now… back to “I’ll Back You Up.” Like I said, incredibly beautiful song. Dave wrote this about his ex-girlfriend Julia Grey (who is the inspiration for several more songs throughout the history of DMB… we’ll get to that). Back when the band first started, he was still dating Julia. Now, Dave is married and has two children, NOT with Julia Grey. I have to give it to her, though… she was the inspiration for a lot of great songs.

The soft nature of this song brings it over the top, and you can hear the love in Dave’s voice. You definitely need to check out the lyrics to “I’ll Back You Up,” because it will just bring you to a place where you know exactly who he is singing about… at least to you (my girlfriend Naby). I’ve always like this song, but the more I listen to it the more I fall in love with it. I actually think this is giving “Crush” a run for its money for the song I want to dance to at my wedding. Here’s a little taste of the lyrics.

And your lips burn wild

Thrown from the face of a child

And in your eyes

The seeing of the greatest view

Do what you will, always

Walk where you like, your steps

Do as you please, I’ll back you up

Love it. I don’t know how you can’t either. The simplicity of the two acoustics strumming this song  is just perfection. Here’s a look at two different versions of the song. The first one is Dave and Tim Live, the second is the whole band.

Don’t mind the video on both… the audio is the only thing that matters. All in all, this song is great. You don’t think of the Dave Matthews Band as a delicate love-song playing group (they’re more of a jamming getting-groovy machine), but it doesn’t mean this song isn’t great.

Song Rating: 5/5

Next Song: “Christmas Song”

Remember Two Things, Part VIII: Seek Up

This song… in its best form… is an epic.

The reason for that is 100% its length. The average length of this song live hovers somewhere around 20 minutes. Yes… 20 minutes. It takes 45 seconds in this version of the song for the first lyric… and live it’s about 5-10 minutes. But anyway…

I am a big fan of this song. The more I listen to it, the more I like it. Once again, the studio version of the song is much simpler than it is live. Throughout most of the song there is just the bass, acoustic and drums. You can hear the violin here and there, and Roi adds in the beautiful (and I mean beautiful) Sax parts here and there as well… and it just all comes together so nicely.

Here is the best version of Seek Up I can find on YouTube. It is from the Live at Luther College acoustic album with Dave and Tim. It doesn’t have the same effect as it does with the whole band, but at least you can hear it (if you haven’t already).

The lyrics to “Seek Up” paint a vivid picture of all the greed people encounter. Most of the verses talk about having everything and anything, but then in the chorus Dave drives home the point, “For soon we will all find our lives swept away.” No matter what happens, one of the guarantees in life is death. No matter how many things you have, how wealthy you are… you’re going to have to face and accept that life. That’s just some great song writing. Personally, my favorite part of the song is when the chorus comes in nice and strong around the __ minute mark…

You seek up an emotion

And our cup is overflowing

You seek up an emotion

Sometimes your well is dry (hey!*)

You seek up a big monster

For him to fight your wars for you

But when he finds his way to you

The devil’s not going ha ha… ha ha

*”Hey” usually comes in the second chorus, and is emphasized by the crowd at live shows.

The biggest comparison I can make between the studio version and live version of this song is length… there’s no way around it. A 7 minute studio song is going to translate into 20 some-odd minutes in DMB land. At times… when you’ve heard a song like this more than say… 5 times… it can get a little long to hear. The 5 minute intro and 15 minute jams are awesome, don’t get me wrong. The fact of the matter is when you start getting up into the 20s of how many shows you’ve seen, you like to start hearing songs you have either never heard, or at least haven’t heard as much. With the case of longs songs like “Seek Up” or “Jimi Thing,” they can be quite long, which takes up time the band could be playing other songs you might not have heard before (JTR, Sweet Up and Down, etc).

In terms of rating the studio version of this song… I don’t think I give it as high a rating as I think it would in a live version. And don’t think that my ratings in these reviews necessarily portrays how much I like a particular song. I really like “Seek Up,” but I like it live a lot more than this studio version, which is why…

Song Rating: 3/5

Next Song: I’ll Back You Up

Remember Two Things, Part VII: Minarets

This song really confuses me. I go back and forth on whether or not I like it quite often… pretty much every time I listen to it I switch opinions (I switched back and forth about 4 times just while writing this.)

It starts off with a very mediterranean/middle eastern horn to it. It walks the line between dark and light. Mainly because Dave sings in such a high, tight voice that he feels like he’s in pain singing this (which could very well be on purpose). There are religious undertones to this song (“Babylon will fall,” “God has grown alone til a man looking, glass in his hand”) which adds to the way Dave sings it (see lyrics here).

I think were I get tripped up the most is the back and forth nature of the mood of the song. It starts off light, with that middle-eastern style I was talking about. Then once it gets into the chorus it feels like it’s going to rock out… but then it cools back off again.

This song has only been played a little more than 300 times live, which seems like a lot, except when you compare it to the most (Ants Marching – 1,064). Plus, it’s only been played 21 times in the last 11 years (most of which played by Dave and Tim Reynolds in acoustic shows). Therefore… it hasn’t gotten much live play as of late, so it’s even harder to understand it.

I think one of the reasons why it isn’t a bigger live gem, or a widely adored song by fans of all kinds, is because of its lack of similarity to most other DMB songs. You can argue that that could make a song better in some cases (Spoon, The Last Stop, ok most of Before These Crowded Streets), but in this case I’m not so sure.

I will admit, though, this song is very addicting. Something about it gets you into its groove, and if the band can take it on one of their epic jams, you get lost in the music.

“What you see what you see what you see is human.” I love that line. Simple, to the point, and I like the way it’s performed.

Anyway… that’s my take on Minarets. Don’t let the song rating turn you off… it’s a good song, I’m just not the biggest fan. Remember, this is an opinionated blog.

Song Rating: 2/5

Next Song: “Seek Up” (aka The Beast – not really, only by me)

Remember Two Things, Part VI: The Song That Jane Likes

“I got a sister named Jane, this is The Song That Jane Likes.”

Aptly titled as a song Dave Matthews’ sister Jane liked when he played it for her, this is a crowd-pleaser. And this (above) is how Dave prefaces the song whenever it’s played live.

Lyrics.

Song Meaning.

Original Studio Demo:

Live Version:

Total Play Count: 380

Album Ranking: 3/10

Being the first song Dave wrote for the Dave Matthews Band (he had written 6-7 other songs before the concept of the band), this is a milestone song in the history of the band. It may not be the biggest or most popular song, but in the timeline of the band… technically this song was first.

The studio version of this song is in very raw form. Listening to it and having in mind the way the band plays now, you can tell this was in the early stages. It’s simple melodies and airy feel keep it easy to follow along with. The basic sax parts you hear LeRoi playing in this keep steady throughout the 20 some odd years they have been playing this song. Over the years it gets a little heavier musically, but the base song stays the same.

Above is a great original demo version of the song. It is just acoustic, and is from Dave’s first demo CD he made, with encouragement from Ross Hoffman and then in Glen Howard’s studio. It gives you an idea of the melody of the song, the guitar chords, etc. I suggest you go on YouTube and look up some STJL videos.

The lyrics are my favorite part of this song. You can tell the lyrics are almost in the form of a letter (written by Dave, obviously). The lyrics are very playful and intriguing. My favorite verse is easily:

Would you like to play

With a fool holding hands

With a one-eyed Jack of spades

While on the deck the sing

All the captain’s cards are kings

Still he and the queen are lost at sea

I hope it isn’t you and me

This has several meanings, obviously in the literal sense, but also in the figurative. You imagine people playing cards on a ship, but the more you read this/hear it, the deeper it gets in your mind and the more depth the lyrics seem to have.

All in all, I love this song live, but I just like it on Remember Two Things.

Song Rating: 3/5

Next Song: “Minarets”

Remember Two Things, Part V: One Sweet World

“One Sweet World.”

Wouldn’t that be nice? Well, for my purposes, that’s our next song.

This is a song I’ve grown very fond of over the years. It’s such a cheery song and a great addition to any set list on a nice summer’s night.

Lyrics.

Song Meaning: The world will always be itself, and always remain the same, despite anything we can do to it.

Studio Version (please, please, please disregard whatever the heck the video itself is… it’s all about the music):

Live Version:

Acoustic Version:

Total Play Count: 580

Album Ranking: 4/10

My favorite part of this song from Remember Two Things is the guitar riff. It’s such an airy, fun, moody line that it makes you just want to stand up and do the infamous hippie-dance (seen at any DMB concert anywhere at any time), especially when the whole band comes in and the song really opens up.

The saxophone part in this song is something that is so simple, yet so perfect, that it completely makes the song. I found a perfect example of how simple yet perfect it is. I stumbled across the video below on youtube (and I actually want to try and find videos for a lot of my reviews) of Dave and a gentlemen named ‘Big Voice Jack’ playing the guitar and penny whistle (respectively). A brief story of the man is in the description on youtube, and I think this is a great video that shows how simple the part is.

“Nine planets around the sun. Only one does the sun embrace.”

The lyrics of the song are a big component to what makes it such a summery song. And if you don’t believe that this song belongs on a summer tour, try this on for size.

So let us sleep outside tonight

Lay down in our mother’s arms

For here we can rest safely

Yeah… that’s what I thought.

The meaning of the song is pretty evident from the lyrics. It essentially means that no matter what harm we as humans do to the earth, it will keep on spinning (AntsMarching.org). While this may be true, that’s a whole different debate for a whole different blog.

All in all, this is a fun song, simple but effective lyrics, and an even more simple and more effective saxophone piece (which the violin also follows) that makes for a great song to listen to over and over and over again.

Now, there are different intros that often lead into this song, but I will leave those for the reviews of the live/bonus albums whenever they come about. In the case of “One Sweet World” from Remember Two Things, it’s just the simple guitar riff and a few cymbal hits from Carter.

If you’re looking for a song for your up and coming summer spring [still] winter mix cd, go with “One Sweet World.” It’s a sure thing.

Song Rating: 4/5

Next Song: “The Song That Jane Likes”