"I'm on bended knee, I pray, Bartender please/Oh when I was young I didn't think about it/But now I can't get it out of my mind/I'm on bended knee, please father, please"
— from "Bartender"

Arguably the second biggest band in the world today behind U2, the Dave Matthews Band has only grown in popularity over the last decade, defying all age and race demographics. In the summer of 2002 they released Busted Stuff, a reworked collection of songs shelved from a previous recording session. Good thing these acoustic jazz/rock tracks didn't slip through the cracks. Much of it ranks with Dave Matthews's strongest work. It's also some of his most deeply felt, soul–searching, and biblically inspired music since 1994's "Christmas Song," which focused on Christ's birth and death.

As the title suggests, recurring themes of brokenness permeate this sobering album, especially in tracks like "Grace Is Gone," "Raven," and the title cut. Amid the loneliness and grief is a buoyant hit single called "Grey Street," in which Dave sings about a young woman who finds herself slowly losing hope in light of a fallen world: "There's an emptiness inside her/And she'd do anything to fill it in/And though it's red blood bleeding from her now/It's more like cold blue ice in her heart." Ignoring Dave's choice in pronoun, most (if they're being honest) can relate to the doubt expressed from some point in their lives—"How she wishes it was different/She prays to God most every night/And though she swears it doesn't listen/There's still a hope in her it might/She says, "I pray, but they fall on deaf ears/Am I supposed to take it on myself to get out of this place?"

It's sad but true that people question this, but there's a shred of hope to build upon here — at least such people are acknowledging the existence of God. "You Never Know" similarly contemplates our existence and whether or not God is still playing a role in our lives. The song "Big Eyed Fish" explores what happens when people out of desperation try to live outside the life they were created for, with a plaintive and prayerful chorus that states, "Oh God, under the weight of life things seem brighter on the other side." One could even interpret the album's other hit single, "Where Are You Going?," as a seeker friendly song: "Where are you going, where do you go?/Are you looking for answers, to questions under the stars?/If along the way you are growing weary, you can rest with me until a brighter day/It's okay."

The most intriguing track on Busted Stuff is the rock jam, "Bartender," a song rife with guilt, a desire for redemption, and several biblical references. Judging from the quote cited above, this seems to be a prayer directed to the One from whom all things flow: "Bartender please, fill my glass for me with the wine you gave Jesus that set him free after three days in the ground … Bartender you see, this wine that's drinking me came from the vine that strung Judas from the devil's tree roots."

Who can say exactly where Dave Matthews is going with all this? I'm not even sure he can, since his own personal beliefs are all over the map (he seems to have been raised Christian and believes in God, but has since embraced many other religious beliefs). What is certain is that these are the words of someone searching for comfort and meaning to this life. Considering the popularity of the band, this album is a tremendous opportunity for Christians to use as a launch pad for a deeper walk with a Savior who makes beauty out of busted stuff.

Unless specified clearly, we are not implying whether this artist is or is not a Christian. The views expressed are simply the author's. For a more complete description of our Glimpses of God articles, click here.