Dave Matthews makes mad return


“Madman’s Eyes” is available on all streaming platforms Rating: 5/5 Photo courtesy of RCA Records

Dave Matthews Band began 2023 with a bang by releasing the thunderous single “Madman’s Eyes”, their first new song in four years.

Throughout the band’s history, their work is an uncanny balance of genres like rock, jazz and blues. This song is no different. With a runtime of four minutes and 48 seconds, “Madman’s Eyes” begins softly with a solo by saxophonist Jeff Coffin over tension-building violins.

The madness commences shortly after, combining instruments like electric guitar, soprano saxophone and a violin quartet to provide a powerful rock song with Middle Eastern textures. 

This is the most strength the band has performed with since “Don’t Drink The Water” in 1998, but the song’s meaning of the difficulty of being kind still rings through with lyrics like “We live as if our hands are tied/is it really so hard to do what we know is right?/To protect the things that we hold dear/must we do things we should never forgive?”

With all of the song’s elements, the chorus is straight from an ‘80s hair band: catchy and dynamic with triple-tracked vocals by Matthews, keyboardist Buddy Strong and trumpet player Rashawn Ross. The easy rhythm makes the song that much more likable combined with lyrics like “I’m afraid/can’t lie/Mama said baby don’t you cry” to give listeners something to nod or tap their foot to.

When it comes to composition, the piece is masterfully polished while staying surprisingly simple. The verses and chorus each follow a signature riff, but the song also has six different key changes. The biggest highlight was with drummer Carter Beauford, whose talents at 64 years old still blow the minds of listeners.

“Madman’s Eyes” is a buildup to the band’s upcoming 10th studio album, “Walk Around the Moon”, produced by John Alagia and Rob Evans which is set to be released on May 19. The album has 12 original tracks, and is the first album since “Come Tomorrow” in 2018. 

In a press release on their website, the band describes “Walk”  as “taking shape during the pandemic and is as much a reflection on current times as it is an urge to find common ground.” The release date coincides with the launch of the band’s summer tour.  Tickets go on sale Feb. 27 for the July 7 and 8 Chicago dates.