Dave Matthews Band: #41 Meaning
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I swear by now I'm playing time against my troubles oh
I'm coming slow but speeding...
Do you wish a dance and while I'm in the front
My play on time is won
But the difficulty is coming here...
I will go in this way
According to Morgan Delancey's Dave Matthews Band Step into the Light, Dave reveals that this song was written around the time that he was undergoing a messy split over money with his mentor, Ross Hoffman. Dave says that during that time, "I was thinking about where I come from, and why I wrote songs and what was my inspiration. And how I was now in this situation where those things that I'd done, I so loved, had now suddenly become a source of incredible pain for me." He explains, "Suddenly there's all this money and people pulling, asking 'Where's mine?' The innocence of just wanting to make music was kinda overshadowed by the dark things that come along with money and success." He then sums it up up saying, "So it's a song about looking back but at the same time, a song that's still adamantly looking forward and thinking, 'I'm still going to carry on, regardless.'"
I don't know if this is true, but I have a feeling that this song is about a girl that dave felt he loved, but she had baggage, and wasn't sure about being with him.. I'll explain..
Firstly, he's trying to tell her how he feels without actually saying those words.. come and see, I swear by now I'm playing time against my troubles... which I take as, look, I know you might need some time, but I'm ready now, I'm trying to go slow with you, but my feelings are so strong that it's very hard to do so. the dance part might be, He'll do whatever it takes to convince her, and he's so ready for this that he feels he can do anything she needs. the chorus, means, maybe that she's afraid that she will hurt him, but he dosn't care about that, "I will go in this way, and find my own way out" dosn't care about being hurt, he'll manage himself if that's the case.. and he's not going to force her into anything is the second part of that. He wants her to be willing to take a chance.. As for the "Ghosts".. I feel that to be past failed relationships and how he'll feel if this is the same.. I think this is either a woman that he's either known for a long time, or someone that he feels that he's been connected to (while not knowing each other) for their whole lives.. and the lonliness, is the fact that they have been apart, as to where he feels they were meant to be together so even thought both of them might have been surrounded by people, they were still "lonely" because they wern't together. and it's been so long that nobody even notices anymore.. and once they finally were together and he started to break through, he's going to stick with it, because weather or not she realizes yet, he knows that they were meant for each other.. once they were together alone.. That's the part where.. "I wanted to stay, I wanted to play, I wanted to love you" He was so intensly attracted to her, buy knew he couldn't do anything about it yet because it was one of thier first times together alone and he didn't want to come off so strongly and scare her away. and "I'm only this far, and only tomorrow leads the way" means that he's only so far in the relationship, and has to be patient for her to come to him. but "I'm coming waltzing back and moving into your head" means, that he's not going anywhere, he's going to be persistant, and make sure she realizes what he's known now since the first meeting.. as much as she gives him cold vibes, it dosn't matter, because when they're together it feels so perfect to him.. and "I wouldn't pass this by, and I won't take more than I need" is He's not going to just let this pass him by, and he dosn't want to freak her out by saying that he needs this, or that.. but he just wants her to feel comfortable with him. and the second part "what kind of man goes by" maybe signifys that she must have been in a past relationship that was maybe abusive, or didn't appreciate her the way he does. "I will bring you water" maybe means that he'll do whatever he feels she needs be it.. Something like relief from whatever bothers her.. I think that maybe her past relationship was bad because "Why would you ever be glad" is probably something like she's always miserable, but he knows this isn't really her and he ponders this quite a bit "wonder" and he does pray for her to come to him, and for her to have some peace in life. he dosn't understand why she just won't go about life, trying to be happy, and stop stressing about these things that she really can't do anything about.
Anyway, that's what I think, maybe I'm totally wrong, but this is how it comes off to me.. The best part about music is that you can take it however you want, it helps us through the tough times in life, be it good or bad, and Dave is by far one of the best song writers of all time.. His ability to connect to the listener is uncanny, and very moving for many people.. I hope this helped in some way.. like I said, it could be completely wrong, but I don't think so.. Thanks, for reading.. I know it was long, but thanks anyway.. God Bless.
anonymous May 2nd, 2006 5:59am report
This song was named #41 because it was the 41st song that he wrote. Again having trouble naming songs. It is about his rise to fame. When he got famous all of the sudden people were interested in the money. "All at once the ghosts come back Reeling in you now What if they came down crushing Remember when I used to play for all of the loneliness that nobody notices now." People became interested in his fame and forgot about his talent and ability to write and sing.
I think this song is about the rise to fame - and the various ways it affects Dave’s love of playing and his relationships. It seems to refer to life on the road and missing someone you love. The pull of begging them to stay and wait for you, while realizing it is perhaps asking too much. So wishing you could stay with the person you love- but knowing it’s not possible or fair to that person. It also seems to express the changes that take place with fame. In this case, music, which may be created out of deeply personal experiences and feelings, evolves into something you do for others in an impersonal way. That is, something that may have been an outlet to work through personal joys and sorrows, soon becomes a source of angst with the complications that come with business relationships, touring, and fame.
anonymous Apr 17th, 2020 4:48pm report
It is about loss of love and the confusion of getting what you wanted, but realizing that nothing that gives you all you wanted without giving you things you hadn’t expected.
The love loss, while it could be a woman’s love, is more the passion you have, what you pore your heart into until it becomes its own persona and begins to consume you. What was a passion becomes a burden and he argues with himself about all he gave for it. And although he knows it consumes him he can’t help coming back to it. After all, it is the passion of his life.
anonymous Jun 22nd, 2019 6:33am report
It’s about death and what he wants people to think about. What he wants them to remember
anonymous Sep 11th, 2018 9:58pm report
I think that I t means he was I love with a girl wanted to tell her how he felt but he could by and gain it was the ;1 song he wrote and it gives him pain thinking about not talking to that girl and telling her how he felt .
anonymous Nov 29th, 2014 11:43am report
It's already been told it's about when he was in the circus. He was a stunt performer for a great friend of his at the time and they made a killing that day and instead of splitting it his friend kept it all. So dave left to pursue his music and went his own way.
anonymous Apr 19th, 2012 4:31pm report
This is my favorite DMB song. I believe it's about losing someone u love. Has anyone who commented heard the song?? Or know the lyrics??
"I will go in this way
And find my own way out
I won't tell you to stay
But I'm coming to much more me
All at once the ghosts come back
Reeling in you now
What if they came down crushing
Only waiting I wanted to stay
I wanted to play,
I wanted to love you
I'm only this far
And only tomorrow leads my way
I'm coming waltzing back and
Moving into your head
Please, I wouldn't pass this by
I wouldn't take any more than I need
What sort of man goes by
I will bring water
Why won't you ever be glad
It melts into wonder
I came in praying for you
Why won't you run
In the rain and play
Let the tears splash all over you"
He's talking about a break up. She doesn't want to take the chance of getting back together but he wants her back.
anonymous Dec 30th, 2008 12:02pm report
Back when www.nancies.org was still around the whole story could be linked. If I remember correctly it was a song about A disagreement about money with a friend. It was called "police 41" because it sounded like a police song. 41 because it was the 41st song they wrote. The song changed a bit and the lyrics completely changed and now the song is #41. Search for Police 41 and you'll get a cool song but the lyrics are hard to hear.
Ever since I heard this song I immediately thought it was about the sheer agony of losing someone you love and wanting them back. Memories coming back ("all at once the ghosts come back reeling in you now.") can be just as devastating as the actual loss. God love Dave and his beautiful song writing skills.
This song describes how david j matthews views his role as a musician and is the way most true musicians feel about their craft. You're not playing something so that somebody will like it necessarily (of course it's nice to know that people dig it) but it's more about putting your emotions and feelings out on your sleeve. It's about letting your music speak for you. That is the way music is meant to be. If you don't feel your own music, nobody else is going to either. That's why this website exists, because these musicians have put something out there that brings a rise in people. People hear the song and can feel the connection on a musical level. Even though they don't know what the song is about, they have a loose interpretation of it as what it means to them. For example, pearl jam - yellow ledbetter. Nobody even knows what he's saying, but they can feel the emotion, and that's the appeal of the song. #41 is Dave Matthews putting into words the idea of music being stronger than its own original meaning, the words, and the final product of the sounds you hear.
anonymous Dec 2nd, 2006 12:30pm report
i think number 41 is about a bunch of different things...that one line may be about his rise to fame but I think there are other things going on in that song also. it seems to me like he may be losing someone he loved because of his rise to fame.
i'm not disagreeing with the other guy btw...cuz I could also see how the song could be interpretted to mean that as well.
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