It’s been far too long since Dave Matthews Band has blessed fans with new music, but the wait is finally over. Following a 5-year hiatus, the group has made a triumphant return to the scene with their new album, Walk Around The Moon.
The latest album, comprised of 12, full-length tracks, provides smooth listening and meaningful lyrics, just in time for the long days of summer. Walk Around The Moon speaks to the unconditional love and beauty that exists in even the smallest nooks and corners of life, asking listeners to think – What goodness will you take with you? What legacy will you leave behind?
The album’s title track, “Walk Around the Moon,” combines a classic blues sound with a sweet, groovy edge. The song journeys through the mindscape of It plays “We're gonna take it so far out/I was just a little close to the edge/When you pulled me back and said/"That's not how it ends/It's because you gave me everything"/I'm flying into this kaleidoscope dream.” It’s in this first song, fans are hit with the familiar tone of Matthew’s beautifully raspy vocals.
From there, listeners find themselves in the wispy daze of “The Ocean and the Butterfly,” a soft yet powerful ballad which explores the relationship between human nature and the natural world.
It goes on “Take only what you need/Like the water and the seed/And so after we are gone/There is something good to carry on.” This song truly captures what it feels like to lay back, stare up at the sky, and appreciate all the perfect, little idiosyncrasies the earth has to offer.
A major turning point comes in the form of “The Only Thing,” just as the track list seems to be winding down. Gritty, energizing and unrelenting, this song brings the album to its emotional peak and is sure to make you feel the restlessness of trying to find yourself, amidst a confusing world. It pleads “Just wish I could crawl out of the skin I'm living in/Crawl out of my mind, into the outside/Nobody can reach me/If you could crawl out of the skin you're living in/Like some kinda love just opened you up/You know when you feel it/It's the only thing.” This song dives deeper into the vulnerabilities of life; its impacts on self-love and the way we view our own world.
Rounding out the record is the melancholic, yet hopeful ballad, “Singing from the Windows.” While the song touches on the feelings of fear and isolation, it more so brings to light the silver lining to be found in times of trouble. It plays “Look at how the children play/Well, none of us know what's to come tomorrow/But I'm not going out today/So dance with me like the time we've got is borrowed/Singing from the windows/Sirens in the dark, where are you going? /Pretend that it's nothing/But look at this fire burning wild.” Only just now coming out of the pandemic years, this ballad is especially poignant in its call for faith, in a moment of darkness.
On its release, the record hit #5 on the Billboard 200, making this the band’s first album to not make it to #1, in their consecutive 25-year run. Regardless, Walk Around The Moon is the group’s seventeenth record to make the chart’s top ten albums. And while this may not be their most prolific work to date, Walk Around the Moon certainly presents an abundance of fresh hits, as the album continues to uphold to the musical mastery Dave Matthews Band has illustrated for the past three decades.
From start to finish, the album seamlessly weaves in themes of love, heartbreak, hope, and exploration of the unknown through both bluesy, slow jams and true soft rock hits. With its unique fusion of genres and musical styles, the overall cohesiveness of this album cannot be overstated.
For those looking to do a bit of soul-searching, appreciate life’s great and simple pleasures alike, or perhaps just find a space to sit back and clear your mind, this album provides listeners all the above, and then some.
With the band’s upcoming tour just kicking off, fans can expect to settle in for new and old hits, all throughout the summer.
Reviewed by Francesca Creavey