Beyond urging a lady to dream, play and keep troubles in perspective, “You Never Know” ponders man’s purpose and the existence of God. On “Captain,” the singer tells his wife how much he enjoys her company. “Where Are You Going” tells a weary friend, “You can rest with me until a brighter day.” “Big Eyed Fish” uses a fable to preach contentment and encourage listeners to be themselves. While “Bartender” alludes to Christ’s resurrection and worries that materialism could hinder spiritual growth . . .
Taken literally, one line implies that wine caused Jesus to rise (the singer may be speaking metaphorically of wine as a spiritual indwelling if the “bartender” being addressed is God). A desperate, empty woman finds no relief in prayer on “Grey Street,” which refers to God as an impersonal “it.” A cryptic father-son chat about the gun-toting boy’s life choices includes a line that disrespects Jesus (“Raven”). There’s nothing ambiguous about “Grace Is Gone,” on which the “drunk again” singer anesthetizes a broken heart.
Fresh off a Grammy nod and a performance at the 2002 Winter Olympics, Dave Matthews Band (25 million records sold and counting) has another hit with the jazz- and funk-infused rock of Busted Stuff. But at best, it is lyrically inconsistent and theologically dubious.