7 Best Dave Matthews Band Songs, Ranked By Reviewers

The Dave Matthews Band (DMB) has achieved phenomenal success since soaring onto the rock and jam-band scene in the early 1990s, earning them a loyal fanbase and widespread recognition. From early iconic tunes like Ants Marching, Satellite, and What Would You Say to more recent hits including The Idea of You and Break Free, you’ll be hard-pressed to find agreement on a true top-seven song list across the DMB fanbase. Still, we wanted to find out what reviewers agreed on when it came to the most popular Dave Matthews Band songs.

DMB is known for its wide-ranging musical style, which incorporates elements of rock, jazz, pop, folk, and world music. The band is also known for its live performances, which are often characterized by extended improvisational jams and a devoted crowd singing along to the tunes. And you’ll be treated to signature “Davespeak” between songs, as the man himself is well-known for his humorous tales or words of wisdom during shows.

The Dave Matthews Band has released 10 studio albums, all of which have reached the top 10 on the Billboard 200 chart. The band has also won two Grammy Awards. We at StudyFinds have researched across eight expert sources to bring you the top seven best Dave Matthews Band songs, most recommended by fans and reviewers! Disagree with our list? We would love to hear from you about your favorite DMB tune in the comments below!

Dave Matthews singing and playing guitar on stage
Dave Matthews singing and playing guitar on stage (Photo by Delmiro Junior on Shutterstock)

The List: Best Dave Matthews Songs, According to Music Experts

1. “Ants Marching” (1995)

The iconic “Ants Marching” by Dave Matthews Band is a high-energy anthem known for its infectious groove and relatable lyrics. A driving rock beat lays the foundation for Dave Matthews’ soulful vocals, while the signature violin melody adds a touch of folk whimsy. The song’s title and repeated “red and black antennas waving” refrain create a playful imagery, but the lyrics delve deeper into themes of routine, societal expectations, and the longing for connection. It’s a song that gets your head nodding and your feet tapping, while leaving room for introspective contemplation.

No wonder this is at number one with the chanting happy-go-lucky tune that immediately enters your head upon mention. Louder Sound explains the lyrics that advise us to reach for better things in life. Fitting to the number one spot, it is widely considered the band’s anthem.

Can you really beat a song with the fiddle? The short answer is no. As soon as you hear it, you know who it is. The Top Tens says that fans can listen to “Ants Marching” over and over and it never gets old.

“Ants Marching” is hands down one of DMB’s most recognizable songs. Sure to get your heads nodding, this tune hit number 18 on the Billboard charts. Thrillest hails the song “The second — and first widely successful — hit single off of ‘Under the Table.'”

2. “#41”

Dave Matthews Band’s “#41” is a more introspective song compared to their usual energetic jams. With a slower tempo and a melancholic guitar line, it creates a contemplative atmosphere. Matthews’ vocals carry a sense of vulnerability as he grapples with existential questions and feelings of doubt. The cryptic lyrics hint at societal pressures and the search for meaning, leaving plenty of room for interpretation. Despite its introspective nature, the song builds to a powerful climax with driving percussion and soaring vocals, showcasing the band’s dynamic range.

Matthews knows how to orchestrate different versions of his songs, but “#41” is one of the most versatile. Some fans look forward to this song the most at his concerts, according to The Top Tens. Fans are drawn to the song’s vibrant melody. Thrillest refers to this song as the “perfect DMB song.” Unfortunately, the band has dealt with ridiculous lawsuits like other artists have. The song pays a tiny tribute to the situation. Have you ever even thought about what the song title signifies? Lawsuits aside, the number 41 references the number of songs written by DMB

3. “Two-Step”

“Two Step” is a feel-good anthem that celebrates life’s simple joys. The song opens with a laid-back groove anchored by Carter Beauford’s funky drumming and Stefan Lessard’s smooth bass line. Dave Matthews’ soulful vocals weave between declarations of love (“Hey, Helena”) and observations on the fleeting nature of life (“Oh well, celebrate we will / ‘Cause life is short but sweet for certain”). Boyd Tinsley’s soaring violin adds a touch of whimsy, while the catchy “climbing two by two” refrain creates a sense of unity and shared experience. It’s a song that invites you to slow down, appreciate the present moment, and celebrate love and connection.

We all have songs that we’ll never get sick of and “Two Step” is one of those songs. And no, it’s not a line dance. If you are ever having a difficult time, pop on this song which reminds us that life is short. Like many songs, Dave Matthews fans can find something new each time they hear “Two-Step.”

If you want to delve deeper, some interpretations of the song reference death as well as living, and that death is inevitable. Others think it discusses war. However it is viewed, it commonly gets everyone up and dancing. Louder Sound loves its “Judiciously-placed sax, guitars, and drums make for a compelling intro, before it reaches out into something more anthemic.”

4. “Crash Into Me”

“Crash Into Me” is a simmering exploration of desire and vulnerability. A bed of pulsating drums and LeRoi Moore’s mournful saxophone set the mood, while Carter Beauford’s intricate percussion adds a layer of restless energy. Dave Matthews’ vocals alternate between a pleading whisper and an urgent shout, conveying a yearning for intimacy. The lyrics explore the push-and-pull of attraction, with lines like “You come crash into me and I come into you” reflecting a desire for a passionate connection. Despite the raw emotion, the song builds to a beautiful, soaring chorus, offering a sense of release and acceptance. “Crash Into Me” is a Dave Matthews Band classic, capturing the complexities of love and longing in a way that resonates with listeners.

There’s something so romantic about this song — voice, lyrics, melody, and all. It is the third single off of Matthew’s most popular album, “Crash.” It was Grammy-nominated despite its storyline of someone spying on a woman through her window. Louder Sound describes it elegantly as Matthew’s best vocal turns.

This unique expression of love is a fan favorite. The Top Tens compiled some listener opinions that say the song transcends time. It is a classic that will draw you in every time. 

Stevie Nicks certainly resonated with this song as she did a cover live in Chicago. Thrillest admits that although this is one of their most popular songs, it’s pretty creepy. Who really cares coming from a seven-time platinum-selling album?

5. “Crush”

Dave Matthews Band’s “Crush” pulsates with a contagious energy that embodies the giddy euphoria of a new infatuation. Lines like “Is this real or am I dreaming?” and “Lovely lady, you crush me” paint a picture of someone smitten and unsure. The song is punctuated by bursts of soulful saxophone and bluesy guitar riffs, adding depth and urgency to the emotional journey. Despite its upbeat tempo, the lyrics hint at a touch of vulnerability and self-doubt, making “Crush” a relatable anthem for anyone who’s ever been swept off their feet by a new love.

This song is an easy extension beyond ten minutes when they are playing live. With its jazzy vibes, “Crush” entrances you into a romantic world, as many Matthews songs do. The romance behind it is inspired by Matthew’s wife, according to Louder Sound.

“Crush” is a beautifully timeless song. It’s one of those Dave Matthews songs that are attached to one memory or another. His songs are forever relevant, so while listening, it’s inevitable to travel back in time. Thrillest claims that “Crush” reminds those who are single how sad being single is

6. “Jimi Thing”

“Jimi Thing” is a genre-bending explosion of energy that pays homage to the legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix. The song starts with a funky, almost psychedelic groove, fueled by Carter Beauford’s innovative drumming and Stefan Lessard’s thumping bass line. Boyd Tinsley’s scorching violin riffs weave through the melody, channeling the spirit of Hendrix’s iconic sound. Dave Matthews’ vocals take a backseat for much of the song, allowing the instrumental interplay to shine. “Jimi Thing” is a party anthem that celebrates musical innovation and the enduring influence of rock and roll legends.

This song tackles coping mechanisms for substance use. Believe it or not, it’s one of the more popular DMB tracks, despite it not hitting high on the charts. Some fans say that the song is loosely similar to Jimi Hendrix’s “Spanish Castle Magic.” All Giddy Up America has to say about the song is that it’s a classic. Enough said. 

7. “Dancing Nancies”

Dave Matthews Band’s “Dancing Nancies” is a complex and introspective song wrapped in a deceptively upbeat tempo. The track opens with a driving, almost frenetic energy, fueled by Carter Beauford’s pounding drums and a swirling organ riff. Lines like “Could I have been anything other than me?” and “Twenty-three and so tired of life” allude to with feelings of dissatisfaction and the desire for a different path. Despite the internal struggle, the song builds to a cathartic release in the chorus, with Matthews pleading to “sing and dance, play for you tonight.” “Dancing Nancies” is a powerful exploration of self-doubt laced with a glimmer of hope, showcasing the band’s ability to blend catchy melodies with profound lyrical themes.

The success of “Dancing Nancies” can be attributed to a combination of factors, including its catchy melody, relatable lyrics. This may blow your mind, but Matthews wrote it when he was only 23 years old. That makes sense when you consider the lyrics and Matt Norlander agrees.

“Dancing Nancies” is the classic “what ifs” that kids always ponder as they navigate young adulthood. In terms of the album this song was on, Stereo Gum says you can’t argue with a lot of the songwriting, “especially when some of the lauded grunge bands were plenty punk-headed on occasion.”

Editor’s Pick: “Seek Up”

“Though my introduction to the Dave Matthews Band came via the iconic ‘Under The Table And Dreaming’ album, ‘Seek Up’ was the song that made me a super-fan for many years,” says StudyFinds Editor-In-Chief and Founder, Steve Fink. “In 1996, I was given a free lawn ticket to see the band play at the then-Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, Virginia. As I made my way up the venue’s giant hill to the lawn, I could hear a song begin to play with a repetitive acoustic guitar rhythm that immediately captured my attention. It was love at first sound. The song was ‘Seek Up’ and it had me from the drawn-out, dramatic instrumental intro to Dave’s harmonious wailing that leads into the outro. With profound lyrics in between and a message that reminds us that ‘soon we will all find our lives swept away,’ the song is as complete as it gets in my view of a musical masterpiece. I can recall going home after this concert and hopping onto my America Online account to seek out this song and learn more about it. I’m glad I did, because it took me down the DMB rabbit-hole and gave me many years of great memories from all the live shows I attended. If you’ve never heard it, I suggest going to YouTube and listening to live versions of it, they’re all wonderful in their own ways. Just beware, they can last anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes long each.”


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.


  1. Good call on the Editor’s choice! Might I add… The Stone and Bartender… thank you

  2. I get why crush, crash and ants are on this, but The Stone is the greatest musical piece ever written, warehouse is SO iconic and I would go for #36/Everyday, but that’s a song close to my family so that’s a personal one.

  3. Don’t Drink the Water , the Stone and Bartender as well. So much good stuff it’s hard to choose . Amazing live band , such a good vibe at every show . Been a fan since the beginning . 26 shows and counting.

    1. I agree with some of these but come on what fans actually voted for these commercially popular Dave songs??

  4. Grace is Gone and Grey Street are my 😍 favorites. Long Black Veil may only be a cover but it was an AMAZING cover!!

  5. Just a little note, it’s LeRoi Moore’s mournful saxophone on Crash Into Me, not Boyd Tinsley’s.

  6. Thank you to this website and the editor for doing this list… as a devout DMB fan, I saw the title and narrowing it down to 7 and I thought this will interesting. And before I clicked tried to guess what would be there and at which number and I guessed the same songs, just a couple in different places, but great job guys!! And yes to Seek Up and to add to that, there are so many others that could make up a really important honorable mentions list (or to some, could be in the top 7 or a top 10 list) like… Tripping Billies, Stay, Don’t Drink The Water, Bartender, Grey Street, Rapunzel, Warehouse, The Stone, When The World Ends, The Space Between… and I’m gonna stop lol… Thanks again, loved it!!! My 25 years as being a die hard fan of this band and seeing them live sooooo many times has me a bit biased! Just GO SEE THEM whether you know their songs or not they are one of the greatest live bands, you will love it and have great memories and all Dave fans are very friendly and personable and I still keep up with some friends I’ve met at shows!!

  7. Good article!

    Boyd Tinsley doesn’t play saxophone as stated in number 4:

    “Boyd Tinsley’s mournful saxophone set the mood”

    The would be a sight to see, if it were true.

    Dave does play piano in a solo song ” Its out of my hands” which is fantastic.

    Grave digger spoke to me after my son died….and during my grief ” Grey Street” soothed my mind frequently.

  8. Pig is one of their best studio tracks. The colors that LeRoi paints with his fills are rounded out nicely by Boyd’s violin and give the song a universe of its own that isn’t quite present live, even though it is still a wonderful song live. In the studio, though, it is a bright and vibrant world of eternal Spring. Their best studio effort in my opinion. #41 also has much more color and depth in the studio.

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