Becoming attractive in the ’90s, Dave Matthews Band was faced with a challenge. They had to arrange their jazz and funk melodies so that they blended with popular tastes. Once they added thoughtful lyrical content and steered in the direction of alternative music, they had created a seemingly effortless appeal that won respect among welcoming audiences. Those attempting to flee the heavily grunge influenced rock found home in Under the Table and Dreaming. The 1994 release led their followers into their intricately cultured web, sticking catchy tunes, like “What Would You Say,” in their heads. The serene, mellow vibe of “Crash Into Me” on 1996’s Crash landed DMB next to their contemporaries like Gin Blossoms, Hootie and the Blowfish, and Toad the Wet Sprocket. However, their branching from the methodical mainstream formula gave them a place in a highly developed haven.
Throughout the decades the band continued to churn out more favorites that rested among several live albums that were released. Dave Matthews Band latest studio album, Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, sells their sophisticated edge with additional worldliness they’ve acquired over the years. The 2009 album left their fans with songs with “You and Me” and “Why I Am.” It is a treat to catch DMB alongside longtime acts R.E.M. and Tom Petty on the classic side of rock radio.
Just as Dave Matthews Band was presented a test to convey their refined music to contemporary audiences, Pearl Jam had an obstacle of their own. They had to shed their American alternative rock coating to reach their full artistic potential. The band burst on the scene around the same time as Dave Matthews Band with raw artistry hidden in hard rock popularity. “Jeremy,” released on 1991’s Ten, reached massive crowds with its haunting sound and equally stirring music video. While Pearl Jam wore a disguised appeal by meshing musically with bands like Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots, they leveled their distorted tunes with songs that had a softer atmosphere. “Better Man” on 1994’s Vitalogy and 1993’s “Daughter” and “Elderly Woman Behing the Counter in a Small Town” off of Vs. made them accessible to coffeehouse rock thirsty audiences. Releasing live albums and singles over the years, the Pearl Jam stayed consistent in the music industry. Backspacer, the band’s 2009 studio album, embraced their American hard rock roots with “The Fixer.” Although the release granted a fresh sound for new ears, fans who toughed out the grungey gloom of the ’90s found reasons to reminisce on their brighter works. “Just Breathe” easily slipped into comparison with 1998’s “Wishlist.”
The dare is done. Dave Matthews Band and Pearl Jam have proved that the fleet of muscians advertising the last bit of the 20th century can contain a wholesomeness and insight. They carried their soundness to the 2000s, but retained enough of their primary characteristics that let them soar above. Matthews Band and Pearl Jam entered at different ends of the alternative rock music spectrum. DMB offered a blatant softness, seasoned with the unconventional ways to package rock music. Pearl Jam surfaced a brewing subtle awareness that reserved for them a spot among the eclectic music palette of all time. The two unite to create contemporary goodness for the masses.