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The Meaning Behind The Song: What You Are by Dave Matthews Band


The Meaning Behind The Song: What You Are by Dave Matthews Band

“Music can change the world because it can change people.” – Bono

Music has a unique way of transforming our emotions and connecting us to our deepest feelings. One such song that continues to resonate with fans across the world is “What You Are” by the Dave Matthews Band. Released in 1998 as part of their album “Before These Crowded Streets,” this heartfelt track is a testament to the band’s ability to beautifully blend soulful lyrics with captivating melodies. In this article, we will delve into the meaning behind “What You Are” and explore the themes that make it such a beloved piece of music.

Discover the depth and beauty behind every verse.

The Importance of Self-Acceptance

At its core, “What You Are” is a song about self-acceptance and finding solace in being true to oneself. Dave Matthews’ introspective lyrics serve as a gentle reminder to embrace our flaws and imperfections rather than striving for an unattainable idea of perfection. The chorus of the song echoes this sentiment, with Matthews singing, “The space between us all and everything is / So damn wide, but I’ve been loving you a long time.”

The track encourages listeners to let go of societal expectations and embrace their true selves. In a world driven by comparisons and a constant pursuit of perfection, “What You Are” offers solace and a sense of belonging by reminding us that we are enough just as we are.

The Struggle for Authenticity

Another underlying theme in “What You Are” is the struggle for authenticity. Matthews voices his desire to cut through societal norms and expectations, calling for genuine connections and true relationships. Lyrics like “We can always fill our lives with everything we want / Those empty things we can’t control” highlight the futility of searching for fulfillment in material possessions, while also emphasizing the importance of meaningful experiences and genuine emotions.

The song’s powerful bridge is particularly impactful, as Matthews sings, “Sometimes I cannot forgive and these days / Mercy ceases to exist in my heart / Sometimes I struggle with the ones I love / And those who love me as I am.” These lines speak to the internal battles we all face when trying to navigate the complexities of relationships, encouraging honesty and vulnerability.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What inspired Dave Matthews to write “What You Are”?

Dave Matthews drew inspiration for “What You Are” from his own personal experiences and the universal struggle for self-acceptance.

2. Did “What You Are” receive critical acclaim?

Yes, “What You Are” was well-received by both critics and fans alike. Its introspective lyrics and powerful melodies resonated with listeners, making it a fan favorite.

3. How does “What You Are” differ from other songs by the Dave Matthews Band?

“What You Are” stands out from other songs by the Dave Matthews Band due to its introspective nature and emphasis on self-acceptance.

4. Is “What You Are” a popular live performance choice?

Yes, “What You Are” is often performed live by the band and is known for its dynamic energy and captivating stage presence.

5. Has “What You Are” been covered by other artists?

While “What You Are” has not been widely covered, it has inspired countless musicians to explore themes of self-acceptance in their own compositions.

6. How did the creation process for “What You Are” unfold?

The creation of “What You Are” involved collaborative songwriting within the band. Dave Matthews’ poignant lyrics were set to music by the other band members, resulting in a cohesive and emotive track.

7. Why do fans connect so deeply with “What You Are”?

Fans connect with “What You Are” because it speaks to their own struggles for self-acceptance and authenticity. The lyrics and melodies create a powerful emotional resonance that resonates with listeners on a personal level.

8. Can “What You Are” be interpreted in different ways?

Certainly, like any work of art, “What You Are” is open to interpretation. Listeners may find their own meaning and connection within the song’s lyrics, making it a deeply personal experience.

9. Does “What You Are” convey a message of hope?

In a way, “What You Are” does convey a message of hope. By encouraging self-acceptance and the pursuit of genuine connections, the song offers a sense of solace and reassurance.

10. What emotions does “What You Are” evoke?

“What You Are” evokes a range of emotions, including introspection, vulnerability, and ultimately, a sense of peace and acceptance.

11. Are there any live performances of “What You Are” that are particularly noteworthy?

While all live performances of “What You Are” showcase the band’s incredible talent, there are some standout performances that captivate audiences with their raw emotion and energy.

12. Has “What You Are” aged well since its release?

Absolutely, “What You Are” has stood the test of time and continues to resonate with listeners who appreciate its timeless themes and heartfelt lyrics.

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About Warren Barrett

Warren has spent nearly half a century (now that's a long time!) as an ink-stained wretch writing for music magazines and websites and has no plans on giving up soon.

He is curious about all types of music and instruments apart from any genre with 'Urban' in the title. He's also not so keen on Plastic Potted Plants, Reality TV, and any movies with Kevin Costner in them.

He lives in Delaware with his wife Wendy and lots of great memories...

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