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Old 09-16-2012, 06:38 PM   #1
Hershey2004
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AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

Is this album truly deserving of high praise, or do fans WANT to love it because Lillywhite produced with DMB again finally? I honestly believe if you kept the exact same album/songs/production, but swapped out Lillywhite with Cavallo or even Batson, that hardcores would be less apt to say this album is amazing.

Like many others, I find this album very underwhelming. It's not bad, but it sounds almost lazy. Not as lazy as Stand Up, mind you, but AFTW feels less exciting after the power of Big Whiskey. Big Whiskey has it's weak moments too, but overall I find it to be a much more memorable and solid DMB experience than this new album.

I think people want to love AFTW because Lillywhite is back, but the new DMB today felt much more alive under Cavallo's production in 2009.

Thoughts?
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  • Old 09-16-2012, 06:42 PM   #2
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    Well its amazing because of what Lillywhite can do with DMB in the studio. If he was on Stand Up but it still sounded as shitty as it does then no I dont see it getting any more praise just because of Lillywhite. And lazy? How the hell is this album lazy?

    Is AFTW getting alot of praise because of what Lillywhite did with it? Yes, and deservedly so. Is it getting more praise just because of the Lillywhite name? I don't think so.
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    Old 09-16-2012, 06:51 PM   #3
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    Your argument is flawed. You say:

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hershey2004 View Post
    I honestly believe if you kept the exact same album/songs/production, but swapped out Lillywhite with Cavallo or even Batson, that hardcores would be less apt to say this album is amazing.
    ...but if these same songs had been given to Cavallo/Harris (or especially Batson or Ballard) the production would not be as good, resulting in a much worse product. I guess what I'm trying to say is Steve Lillywhite brings out the most in the band, and really leaves his mark on each album he produces. I do not think as good a product would've resulted with any other producer. It's not really fair to just say "if the names were swapped" because the end product would be much different.

    Therefore yes, it deserves the praise it gets.
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    Old 09-16-2012, 07:18 PM   #4
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    5th best album overall for me, behind Busted Stuff but ahead of BW. Lillywhite deserves recognition but I don't think he is the only reason this album is good by any stretch.
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    Old 09-16-2012, 07:42 PM   #5
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    I'm just so happy to hear Boyd being an integral part of the band's sound again. There are so many parts on this album where he comes in and just makes the melody SO very sweet...
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    Old 09-16-2012, 08:37 PM   #6
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    I don't understand how it's lazy to you....this album is filled with layers, something all the other albums recorded without Lillywhite lack....but to each his/her own....
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    Old 09-16-2012, 10:27 PM   #7
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    No. The answer to OP's question is, in fact, no.
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    Old 09-16-2012, 10:32 PM   #8
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    It probably is, to be honest. Not saying I don't love the record, but I'm sure most give Lillywhite the benefit of the doubt. If Only reminds me a lot of Spaceman, and both of those songs have contrasting reactions amongst the fan base. For the most part, of course.
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    Old 09-16-2012, 10:38 PM   #9
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    I've got to be honest, I think that I share the OP's point of view. It's a good album with some good layering and bringing Boyd back, but it just feels too simple to be a Lillywhite album. They came into the studio to work on all old songs, then decided to do new stuff, and only worked on twelve songs. Two of the new songs (Sweet and Belly Full) are basically Dave solo/E1 slot songs and most of the album seems too tame to me. I LOVE the last 4 songs on the album, AND the first few, but they should have put some more studio time in and worked on more songs in order to flesh things out better. If they had considered more songs, they may have come up with something to really make everything coalesce. Perhaps this album serves as a gateway to get them into the studio with Lillywhite again for a full-fledged effort, but I must say that I had hoped for more out of this album.
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    Old 09-16-2012, 11:13 PM   #10
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    this is by far their best effort since the last lillywhite sessions. overrated? not in the slightest chance.

    carter said it best "we're not young anymore, and as a band we've matured."

    before the album came out all people kept saying was getting the old mellow dmb sound back. well, here it is, and now people are bitching because the album is not very upbeat and it's mellow. away from the world is a great album, and if people don't like it, well Idk what to tell you anymore with this band.
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    Old 09-16-2012, 11:20 PM   #11
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    You didn't know this was going to happened before it was released? There's songs on this album that are of Stand Up quality but this album is "OMG BIG 4!!!11" because of the producer and I strongly believe many people just can't accept that Steve Lillywhite ok'd some of these songs/lyrics so let's just pretend to drool all over it
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    Old 09-17-2012, 12:06 AM   #12
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    I couldn't agree more with the OP.

    I see AFTW as an inverse of Busted Stuff. Whereas Busted Stuff featured mediocre performances of really amazing songs, AFTW has really amazing performances of really mediocre songs. Lillywhite did HIS job very well--the band (and really, Dave) just missed the mark a bit this time out. It's not BAD; I want to like it and had really high hopes, but it's just boring and uninspired. Too many bad lyrics, too many predictable and/or nonexistent melodies.

    Nothing illustrates this for me better than "Drunken Soldier." I had such high hopes for that song--I wanted nothing more to hear Jeff, Tim, Rashawn, and hell even Boyd shred over a 4 minute outro. When I listened through the album for the first time and was generally underwhelmed with what I was hearing, I always thought "well just wait until Drunken Soldier!" And when I got there, I just heard a cool-but-noodly, some decent riffing, then some TERRIBLE lyrics, a few more cool riffs, a few more terrible lyrics, then a reasonably promising outro that just... faded out.

    I may be the only person in all of DMB fandom who thought "that's it!?" at the end of "Drunken Soldier." You could trim it down to 5 minutes in length and the song wouldn't suffer at all. "Squirm" was WAY more epic at half the length. I was hoping for the DMB equivalent of Umphrey McGee's "Mantis"--an epic with all sorts of cool disparate sections that builds to a climax that really states what the band is about. What I got was a cheesy carpe diem song with an extra long intro and outro.

    So, like the album, it has all sorts of ingredients I SHOULD like, but it misses the mark (particularly in the melody and lyrics departments) as often as it hits, and never really NAILS it. The album comes out to less than the sum of its parts.

    It is what it is. I gave up trying to analyze the overall direction of this band years ago, so I don't have the "the sky is falling" feeling that I felt when Everyday and Stand Up hit. DMB is a veteran band that's released 8 albums, and when you release 8 albums they can't all be the best. They've released 3 masterpieces, 2 very enjoyable but imperfect albums (BS and BW), 2 turds (ED and SU), and one that's not horrible but just really boring (AFTW). Most bands would kill to have a track record like that.

    Hopefully they go back to Lillywhite again for the next one, and maybe they'll hit it closer to the mark then.
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    Old 09-17-2012, 12:11 AM   #13
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kshathra View Post
    I couldn't agree more with the OP.

    I see AFTW as an inverse of Busted Stuff. Whereas Busted Stuff featured mediocre performances of really amazing songs, AFTW has really amazing performances of really mediocre songs. Lillywhite did HIS job very well--the band (and really, Dave) just missed the mark a bit this time out. It's not BAD; I want to like it and had really high hopes, but it's just boring and uninspired. Too many bad lyrics, too many predictable and/or nonexistent melodies.

    Nothing illustrates this for me better than "Drunken Soldier." I had such high hopes for that song--I wanted nothing more to hear Jeff, Tim, Rashawn, and hell even Boyd shred over a 4 minute outro. When I listened through the album for the first time and was generally underwhelmed with what I was hearing, I always thought "well just wait until Drunken Soldier!" And when I got there, I just heard a cool-but-noodly, some decent riffing, then some TERRIBLE lyrics, a few more cool riffs, a few more terrible lyrics, then a reasonably promising outro that just... faded out.

    I may be the only person in all of DMB fandom who thought "that's it!?" at the end of "Drunken Soldier." You could trim it down to 5 minutes in length and the song wouldn't suffer at all. "Squirm" was WAY more epic at half the length. I was hoping for the DMB equivalent of Umphrey McGee's "Mantis"--an epic with all sorts of cool disparate sections that builds to a climax that really states what the band is about. What I got was a cheesy carpe diem song with an extra long intro and outro.

    So, like the album, it has all sorts of ingredients I SHOULD like, but it misses the mark (particularly in the melody and lyrics departments) as often as it hits, and never really NAILS it. The album comes out to less than the sum of its parts.

    It is what it is. I gave up trying to analyze the overall direction of this band years ago, so I don't have the "the sky is falling" feeling that I felt when Everyday and Stand Up hit. DMB is a veteran band that's released 8 albums, and when you release 8 albums they can't all be the best. They've released 3 masterpieces, 2 very enjoyable but imperfect albums (BS and BW), 2 turds (ED and SU), and one that's not horrible but just really boring (AFTW). Most bands would kill to have a track record like that.

    Hopefully they go back to Lillywhite again for the next one, and maybe they'll hit it closer to the mark then.
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    Old 09-17-2012, 12:15 AM   #14
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kshathra View Post
    I couldn't agree more with the OP.

    I see AFTW as an inverse of Busted Stuff. Whereas Busted Stuff featured mediocre performances of really amazing songs, AFTW has really amazing performances of really mediocre songs. Lillywhite did HIS job very well--the band (and really, Dave) just missed the mark a bit this time out. It's not BAD; I want to like it and had really high hopes, but it's just boring and uninspired. Too many bad lyrics, too many predictable and/or nonexistent melodies.

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    Old 09-17-2012, 12:27 AM   #15
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    I will admit that I was more taken with the production and how GOOD the album sounded at first.

    Today I was listening to it while driving around, and there is definitely some cheesiness I overlooked on first or second listen because I was so excited about the sound.

    I finally listened to Drunken Solider in its entirety, and I have no problems with the song itself, lyrics or otherwise, but it does just kind of fizzle. Not a criticism, but an observation. It is still a really cool exercise in experimentation, and we can't say we've heard anything like it from the band, and they did it well.

    Mercy and Gaucho are horribly placed, because their messages are just too similar.

    The album is DEFINITELY far from perfect, but I think it perception really has to do with what you expect from the band at this point. We have some decent lyrics, and others at time are pretty generic and lazy ("I want you/so take me back/please/take me back/my baby), but musically this album is MUCH stronger than anything they've produced in the last 10 years.

    Do the lyrics to "If Only" suck? Yeah, a bit. But it's a beautiful melody, a great horn line, LOVE Boyd at the end, and Tim's playing is so perfectly jazzy.

    Is "Belly Belly Nice" cheesy? Yes, but in a fun way.

    "Broken Things", "Sweet", "The Riff", "Snow Outside", "Drunken Soldier" are all really great tunes, Lillywhite or not. "Gaucho" would be on the list, if Dave had left out the "please wake up" line, and let Fonz rip it for a few bars instead. "Rooftop" is great musically, but suffers from the tired subject.
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    Old 09-17-2012, 12:34 AM   #16
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by canes101190 View Post
    It probably is, to be honest. Not saying I don't love the record, but I'm sure most give Lillywhite the benefit of the doubt. If Only reminds me a lot of Spaceman, and both of those songs have contrasting reactions amongst the fan base. For the most part, of course.
    woahhhhhh that is very false If Only completely blows away Spaceman. i think Spaceman is one of the WEAKEST songs off of BW, just my opinion not to affend anyone, i tried so many times to like it and its never clicked with me. i think its slow and boring and has never caught me in a live setting. If Only is a whole different sound that i think fits! outro is BEAUTIFUL and the lyrics are very simple but the way they flow is perfect.

    and AFTW definitely wasnt lazy, i think Drunken Soldier by itself proves that haha
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    Old 09-17-2012, 01:22 AM   #17
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    To me, the "power" of Big Whiskey derived from the fact that it didn't seem lazy, and it quickly served the hunger of Dave Matthews fans that needed a fix after Everyday and Stand Up. It seemed to have an attitude that pointed toward a band that wanted to create great music again, but once I actually listened to the album for what it was, I lost interest quickly.

    AFTW doesn't blow me a away, but it seems like a more substantial effort that does more than attempt to floor me from a superficial standpoint. I suppose I'm able to connect to the core of the effort on this album, which keeps me tethered to its purpose despite some questionable songs like Gaucho. (And I still have yet to really get into Drunken Soldier) Maybe this is due to Lillywhite, maybe it's the band. I dunno.

    Anyways, I don't think the album is perfect, but it holds my attention in the long run far better than ED, SU, or BW.
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    Old 09-17-2012, 01:28 AM   #18
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    I think the quality of the songs is on par with Big Whiskey. I think that's about the best we can expect out of DMB at this point in its career.

    I do think it's nicely produced, but I never doubted that would be the case.
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    Old 09-17-2012, 04:58 AM   #19
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kshathra View Post
    So, like the album, it has all sorts of ingredients I SHOULD like, but it misses the mark (particularly in the melody and lyrics departments) as often as it hits, and never really NAILS it. The album comes out to less than the sum of its parts.
    You, unlike the band, has nailed it. When it comes to judging an album, it boils down to whether the album experience is memorable. It clearly isn't for me. That said, I do find things to love within the album. I find it's easier to overlook production if the substance of the album is solid.

    Lillywhite just had a really meh selection of songs to work with. Unlike others around here, I do blame him for not being pickier about which songs made it. From what I hear, there was no screening. The boys came up with 12 songs, and they threw them all in.

    And what's worse, they don't seem to be having fun with any of the songs. This wouldn't be a problem if the album was dark and brooding.
    So the end result is an album that doesn't go out on a limb one way or the other, and leaves me feeling indifferent.
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    Old 09-17-2012, 05:09 AM   #20
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kshathra View Post
    So, like the album, it has all sorts of ingredients I SHOULD like, but it misses the mark (particularly in the melody and lyrics departments) as often as it hits, and never really NAILS it. The album comes out to less than the sum of its parts.
    You, unlike the band, has nailed it. When it comes to judging an album, it boils down to whether the album experience is memorable. It clearly isn't for me. That said, I do find things to love within the album. I find it's easier to overlook production if the substance of the album is solid.

    Lillywhite just had a really meh selection of songs to work with. Unlike others around here, I do blame him for not being pickier about which songs made it. From what I hear, there was no screening. The boys came up with 12 songs, and they threw them all in.

    And what's worse, they don't seem to be having fun with any of the songs. This wouldn't be a problem if the album was dark and brooding.
    So the end result is an album that doesn't go out on a limb one way or the other, and leaves me feeling indifferent.
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    Old 09-17-2012, 05:17 AM   #21
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iancontijoch View Post
    You, unlike the band, has nailed it. When it comes to judging an album, it boils down to whether the album experience is memorable. It clearly isn't for me. That said, I do find things to love within the album. I find it's easier to overlook production if the substance of the album is solid.

    Lillywhite just had a really meh selection of songs to work with. Unlike others around here, I do blame him for not being pickier about which songs made it. From what I hear, there was no screening. The boys came up with 12 songs, and they threw them all in.

    And what's worse, they don't seem to be having fun with any of the songs. This wouldn't be a problem if the album was dark and brooding.
    So the end result is an album that doesn't go out on a limb one way or the other, and leaves me feeling indifferent.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iancontijoch View Post
    You, unlike the band, has nailed it. When it comes to judging an album, it boils down to whether the album experience is memorable. It clearly isn't for me. That said, I do find things to love within the album. I find it's easier to overlook production if the substance of the album is solid.

    Lillywhite just had a really meh selection of songs to work with. Unlike others around here, I do blame him for not being pickier about which songs made it. From what I hear, there was no screening. The boys came up with 12 songs, and they threw them all in.

    And what's worse, they don't seem to be having fun with any of the songs. This wouldn't be a problem if the album was dark and brooding.
    So the end result is an album that doesn't go out on a limb one way or the other, and leaves me feeling indifferent.
    Saying it twice doesn't make it true.
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    Old 09-17-2012, 07:55 AM   #22
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

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    Saying it twice doesn't make it true.
    Tell that to every politican ever
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    Old 09-17-2012, 08:01 AM   #23
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    I like this album. I like Big Whiskey. I like Cavallo and I like Lillywhite.

    Neither this nor Whiskey touch the Big 3, at least I don't think this album does yet. But it's quite good and I don't think that belief has anything to do with Lillywhite's name being attached to it.
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    Old 09-17-2012, 08:20 AM   #24
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    Its Def not Big 4 if there are no top 10 songs. Until i hear a song comparable to 41, two step, LIOG you cant have a big 4. (those 3 songs are on the same album) Unlike a lot of people here i think Drunken Soldier is top 20. I also think Belly Belly is on par with Too Much.

    I didnt quote it but someone said the songs are on par with BWGK but are better produced is probably the best opinion AFTW ive heard.
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    Old 09-17-2012, 08:26 AM   #25
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    definitely. i know it's a dmb forum but some of the praise this album is getting is really hard to believe. i put this album above everyday and stand up, that's it.
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    Old 09-17-2012, 08:38 AM   #26
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

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    Tell that to every politican ever
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    Old 09-17-2012, 10:21 AM   #27
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    I think this album is the opposite of lazy. Dave had the option of recording old material, material which already has music, lyrics, etc. It would be like playing off of a sheet of music just to record this stuff. His choice was to create brand new material. So instead of recording what's already been played for years, he decided to create new things. Sounds pretty far from lazy if you ask me.
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    Old 09-17-2012, 10:31 AM   #28
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by arizza11 View Post
    I think this album is the opposite of lazy. Dave had the option of recording old material, material which already has music, lyrics, etc. It would be like playing off of a sheet of music just to record this stuff. His choice was to create brand new material. So instead of recording what's already been played for years, he decided to create new things. Sounds pretty far from lazy if you ask me.
    to me, though, these songs sound half-finished. he tried to write new songs and got halfway there, but just didn't finish them.

    i mean, you cannot seriously say that dave didn't get lazy while writing 'mercy'......
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    Old 09-17-2012, 10:33 AM   #29
    jaymas9
     
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    BW is a far stronger album melodically, which is very important. Musically, I give the edge to AFTW, but BW is no slouch musically by any stretch of the imagination. Lillywhite wins out over Cavallo, as I like AFTW production more. However, Cavallo had to deal with Roi's death, and there's no doubt BW would have been far more horn laden, as Dave in several interviews indicated Roi and Cavallo really hit it off. Plus the band made the decision to not really record new horn parts and pay respect to Roi. At the end of the day Cavallo played a huge part in helping the band get it's balls back, and he gets big props from me for that.

    But Lillywhite has proved time and time again, he is the only one who really knows how to record Boyd with the band.

    Overall AFTW gets the edge from me, and the only thing keeping it from being truly great is Dave himself.

    At the end of the day, they've bounced back with two really solid albums, which is all I ever wanted after Stand Up. Hopefully they keep moving up.
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    Last edited by jaymas9; 09-17-2012 at 10:34 AM.
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    Old 09-17-2012, 10:37 AM   #30
    jiggajm18
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    Re: AFTW overrated because of Lillywhite?

    i don't understand why there is all this talk about boyd on this album. he only has a few solos. yes, they do sound great but some people are talking about it like he owned this album.
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