Dave Matthews Band

There are, I suspect, exactly two reactions to the music video for the Dave Matthews Band's "Everyday," the one where the big frumpy guy who you at first think is a panhandler stands on the street and asks strangers for hugs: "Man, this Dave Matthews character has really done it this time, expecting me to be moved by this sentimental hokum," and "Man, this Dave Matthews character has really done it this time, moving me with this sentimental hokum." My first viewing, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself thinking the latter, which was kind of a revelation, as I'd always sort of blithely ignored Matthews, consigned him to the same mental space where the Spin Doctors and Widespread Panic and Blues Traveler rattle away, confident in my appreciation of more subtle emotional virtuosi (you know, like the Promise Ring).

Yet thanks to a string of gloriously, unapologetically flowery pop singles that replaced the labored jamminess of his earlier material with a silvery melodic lilt, Matthews kept creeping into my cerebral cortex, delicately trampling Counting Crows and even Toad the Wet Sprocket in his mastery of that rarefied ratio of fey to virile that few rock-star guys ever actually attain.

"Everyday," and especially its video, is that proficiency tooled to post-9/11 dimensions. "Pick me up, love, from the bottom/Up onto the top, love, everyday," Matthews sings over a groove that's like coming in from out of the rain. "Pay no mind to taunts or advances/I'm gonna take my chances on everyday." And the guy in the video does just that, risking his health (or at least his virility) on passers-by, some of whom give him strange stares, two of whom push him into an alley, but many of whom (including Matthews and his band) embrace him like some old friend they'd forgotten to e-mail in 12 years. Maybe it reflects an inner shallowness within me--the old, hokum-hating me would certainly say so--but I'm kind of into it.

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Mikael Wood