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Death and destruction sells in this day in age. As Santana so correctly put it, “It seems that I thrive on the dark side of things/ I always feel alive when the death bell rings/ now you come and you bring out the tears in me” As a culture, Americans have a tendency to enjoy something that gets their blood boiling, something that makes them want to just let it all go and scream as apposed to something that makes them feel all warm and bubbly inside. There are however, those bands out there that do manage to keep their fan base interested with love songs that are reminiscent of the sixties “flower children.” One of the greatest is the Dave Matthews Band. In order to understand Dave and his band, one has to understand Dave’s history.
Dave was born in South Africa. Through out his childhood, he moved in and out of the states. Eventually, after his farther died in New York in the 80’s, Dave and his family decided to move back to South Africa. This is when, due to the hatred that engulfs this particular region of our “peaceful” world, his sister was murdered. One can safely assume that Dave took it upon himself to spread a loving message through his music. Love of ones neighbor is his common theme. Two of the more powerful songs that show this over all image of love are “The Best of What’s Around” and “Jimmi Thing.”
“Hey my friend, it seems your eyes are troubled, care to share, your time with me?” Do you care to let me share some of your burdens? “The Best of What’s Around” is a song that puts the listener into the shoes of one of Dave’s friends. In the song, Dave is found comforting that friend through hard times. There are many forms of love in this world, one being, the love of thy neighbor. In “The Best of What’s Around” Dave is abiding by the golden rule, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Treat your friends with the same respect that you expect to receive. Its human nature to share loads. When someone sees that their friend is in a bad state, there is a natural urge for that person to try to help their friend out.
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When picked apart, one can find only a single, distinct, difference between these two songs. That difference being the position of the story teller. In “The Best of What’s Around,” Dave is telling the story form the eyes of a good loving friend. He is in the position to carry his hurting friend. In the second song, “Jimmi Thing,” Dave is showing the listener what it feels like to be in the position of pain. He’s asking for help. These two songs are perfect examples of Dave’s common theme, love of thy neighbor. He is telling us to take care of our friends and when looking at his history, can anyone blame him for sticking to this theme?
If only the whole world would listen to the genius of Dave Matthews. Imagine a world of love. If the whole world would abide by the values that are planted so clearly in these two “pop” tunes, no single person would ever have to face pain or problems alone. Think of the great benefits that would follow. The world’s theme song would be “lean on me.” Not only would this ideal stay entrenched in the lives of the average person, but it would most definitely transfer to the lives of our leaders. The result being, that this golden rule would effect the international decisions of rulers. It would mean peace on earth. “Love thy neighbor as thy self.” Love thy fellow cultures as thyself. Love thy enemies as thyself. Think about the statement “love thy fellow cultures as thyself.” If the world were to put this value into practice, it really would mean peace on earth. But what we must recognize is that the golden rule is only welcome in certain cultures. Expecting every community on earth to adopt this way of life is realistically improbable. It’s not only realistically improbable but this author would venture to say, that it is realistically impossible. Even the act of forcing ones beliefs onto another is a violation of the golden rule itself. “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Would you want someone from a different society so press their opinion onto you? Not everyone in this world wants to live in love. Lets face it, it seems that we thrive on the dark side of things, we always feel alive when the death bell rings. So true Santana.