Top 50: 50-41
By Jake Vigliotti
The Top 50 List: 50-41
- 50 (tie) Christmas Song, Seven, Hello Again, You Might Die Trying
- 49 Blue Water Baboon Farm
- 48 Pay For What You Get
- 47 Sweet Up And Down
- 46 #34
- 45 Drive In Drive Out
- 44 Lying In The Hands Of God
- 43 Grace Is Gone
- 42 What Would You Say
- 41 Captain
Could you find four more dissimilar songs than those? Yes, it’s hard to believe that there would even be a tie, let alone a 4-way tie, but the gap between these songs and the next on the list was great, so it was only fair to include them all. Of the four, Seven actually garnered the highest single vote, polling at #11 on one ballot.
Yes, I know, it’s just Blue Water, but it’s more fun to add the agricultural aspect to it with the primates. Someone called it the third best DMB song overall. It’s not hard to imagine why; those haunting lyrics. As one pollster said, “Blue Water is one of the most unabashedly depressing songs Dave has ever written. A truly dark masterpiece.” A word thrown around a lot is “haunting”. That it is. Maybe that’s why it’s so high on the hard-cores lists of songs most wanting to hear live. It’s not for the average DMB fan, as we witnessed in 2009 when the song was met with some stunned looks, but the screams you heard were from the kind of people reading this list right now.
Possibly the simplest in terms of structure on the list, however, it’s always been a favorite for its straightforward approach. Throw in the fact that Roi had a beautiful accompaniment, and that’s reason enough for its entry in the Top 50.
Few songs have been appreciated more in its surprise comeback role than Sweet Up And Down. Thought to be left for dead after the aborted Lillywhite Sessions, it resurfaced as the only DMB song to be covered by Dave on his Dave and Friends 2003 tour. It received 10 plays in 2010, and that was probably enough to wet the beak of fans and slide it into the top 50.
Some fans harkened back to the old days, and specifically mentioned their listing of #34 as “with lyrics”. This was a song dominated by Roi, and truly one of the most beautiful studio tracks laid down by the band. It’s shocking return in 2005 (the savior of the tour to some), and then a special treat in 2007 gave fans the pleasure of hearing a song that most thought they’d never hear with their own ears. Since Roi’s passing, some fans are OK with its departure from shows. It was Roi’s song.
Lyrically, it is one of the most fluid songs on the top 50 list. Dave has admitted that the song was written for Carter to shine in, and shine he does. It sort of has set lyrics now, but for 10 years it was a song that Dave basically sung whatever was on his mind, and no offense to Dave, but it didn’t really matter. The song is practically a 5 minute Carter exhibition, and one that leaves fans gasping after it’s done.
The second entry so far from Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, it was left off a number of ballots, but received a high rating from those who chose it. That seems to be the opinion live as well, some love it, some don’t. But there’s no denying it’s deep lyrical composition, and that certainly helped its spot in the top 50.
One wonders how much higher this song would be if it were still in semi-heavy rotation? The song only received 5 plays in 2010. But it’s one of those songs that has a lasting impression on people. One pollster said, “Grace Is Gone is a song that really blew me away the first time I heard it live in November of 2007. The song's beautiful lyrics go about telling the story of a lost love and trying to hide the pain”. Another commenting, “As someone that grew up around 70's country music, I love the tone of the song... It’s a punch in the gut.”
This is the second radio single to enter the charts, but the first that some older fans probably heard in the pre-iPod days. It’s always had a catchiness to it, and unlike some (most?) singles released by the band, it still remains quite popular with fans. Most would probably be surprised at it being slotted so low, but it only cracked one ballots top 20.
If you have more than 100 posts in the message board, you probably just booed aloud, and everyone in your office is wondering why you just chucked your monitor across the room. But it comes down to this; hardcore fans love it (it was a top 10 for a few), but casual fans have no care for it. Part of that stems from the ole “Lillywhite Sessions” vs “Busted Stuff” version. More fans specifically mentioned the LWS version than the BS one (no pun intended). So if you think Captain got jobbed, well, you’re right. If you post on a message board.
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