I like the Counting Crows new album. That’s right, I said it!
They make decent records. Their first one, August and Everything After, was both critically acclaimed and commercially successful. They have this sort of modern-folky/classic rock sound behind Duritz’s more-than-capable vocals (often referred to as “whiney”). And while he often sounds whiney (told ya), he is a good singer and decent lyricist.
But this is the blogosphere. I’m kinda new to this blog thing, and while I might not have invented the Internet, I’ve clicked around enough to know that serious music freaks and bloggers are not supposed to like the Counting Crows. Like, at all. Duritz and the Counting Crows are the people and bands we’re supposed to make fun of while extolling the virtues of some hot trendy band of hacks like the Killers or Snow Patrol. Sorry, but I’m not playing along.
Rolling Stone magazine, that former authority on all things rock music and former pillar of music journalism, just had a good feature on Duritz. Talked about how he has a life-long mental illness that’s been diagnosed as a dissociative disorder. Now, I’m usually the first person to not feel sorry for rich celebrities who “just cant cope” with their fame and riches. But maybe this guy is a real human being who happens to have some real issues that have nothing to do with being a celebrity (other than living under a microscope of criticism and needing to take meds that make him gain weight). Maybe he’s not just whining about how hard it is to be the rich and famous Mr. Jones Guy. The article was titled Why Can’t Adam Duritz Get Any Respect? How the Counting Crows leader battled depression and his critics — and made his best album in a decade.
Then, elsewhere in the same issue, the actual album review is filled with snarky comments like “We know, dude: Life in L.A. is tough.” And yet it also admits that some songs are “little masterpieces of pop craft.” So it’s like they can’t deny that the actual album is good (despite the unenthusiastic 3-star review), but they’re just too cool to not take cheap shots at Adam Duritz.
Funny, looking at my notes from when I first heard the album, I wrote: “it’s okay. after a few listens I’m not all gung-ho to keep listening more….. I liked the first album a lot (back then) but I wouldn’t classify myself as a big Counting Crows fan so I kinda don’t care either way.”
A few listens later I wrote: “Listened to this again yesterday, starting on track 8 and just listening to 8-14. Pretty enjoyable. I reckon it would be better with a few less tunes (taking out tracks 1, 13, and 14 wouldn’t hurt).”
By today, several more listens later, I found myself writing “man I’m really loving this record a lot more than I ever thought I would!”
Hmm. So there it is: I love the new Counting Crows record and I’m not gonna be ashamed to admit it. Just don’t send this link to any of your really cool music buddies.