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Dave Matthews Band: Everyday

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Dave Matthews Band

Album: Everyday
Label: RCA

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Dave Matthews is one of rock's most unlikely superstars, mostly because it's so difficult to get worked up over him. About as nondescript and unassuming as his inoffensive, technically proficient music, Matthews wouldn't seem to inspire much passion or hatred either way. But 20 million albums sold and phenomenal concert revenues make him a legitimate commercial powerhouse—and critical target—in large part due to his ability to wring a few surefire hits out of each record. Everyday, produced and co-written by Alanis Morissette career-maker Glen Ballard, seems especially suited to this purpose: Once "I Did It" runs its course, brace yourself for the ubiquity of the lovely ballad "The Space Between." Like "Satellite" and others before it, the song amply displays Matthews' penchant for guilty-pleasure ballads that sound great on the radio while easing the interminable wait for a new Peter Gabriel record. Everyday's remainder is a characteristic mixed bag of instrumental indulgence ("Fool To Think"), ponderous duds ("If I Had It All"), winning, falsetto-driven pop ("So Right"), and facile message songs ("Mother Father"), most of which is reined in by Ballard's economical production. With a widely hyped emphasis on electric guitar and rock-oriented arrangements, Everyday is proof that edginess is always relative: As a whole, it's just as brisk, bright, and bran-flavored as its predecessors. That's good news for diehards, while casual fans will be well served waiting for what should be a solid greatest-hits collection.