"Baby," Dave Matthews

Posted by AJ Harbison at 12:02 am

I wrote last month about Dave Matthews’ song “Stay Or Leave” from his solo album Some Devil. This post is about track 11, “Baby.”

The track is a short one, just 2:19, and the instrumentation is just an acoustic guitar and strings. It’s a simple song, and a very enjoyable one. The thing that prompted me to post about it is the same element as my third point about “Stay Or Leave,” namely a meter change. One of the pervasive metaphors of “Baby” is “a ship in a bottle set sail.” The song is mainly in a straightforward 4/4, but after two instances of that ship-in-a-bottle line, it changes to 6/8, with a quarter note in 4/4 equaling an eighth note in the 6/8. (I suppose it could also be 3/4 with a boom-chuck-chuck waltz feel; the effect is the same.) The lyrics over the 6/8 talk about wind blowing over the water, and the effect is one of broadening, changing from a straightforward meter to a lilting one, and it dramatically conveys the feeling of a ship sailing. After a few measures of 6/8, the song returns to 4/4, not overdoing the change but just using it subtly to great effect. A useful device to know: slow, rolling 6/8 equals a ship on the seas. Mad props to Dave again.

(Last.fm again has the full track for your listening pleasure, here.)



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    Ryan Fleming on 06.16.2008

    I haven’t listened to Dave Matthews Band much before, but I am starting to enjoy their unique style. This song is interesting because their is no percussion or distinct beat present. The beat is simply felt by the other instruments and the chord progression.

    Another cool thing is that the guitar does not keep a distinct rhythm throughout the song. I think this might contribute to the easy transfer between 4/4 and 6/8 meter. It is really cool!

    My two cents!


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    Mike Morabito on 06.20.2008

    Hey, dude this is chill. Strange, I almost feel like I’ve never heard this Dave track. Thanks for adding the last.fm link.

    Btw, Courtney and I are going to see DMB in August if you want to come with us I’m sure we could find some tickets.

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