If you like a storm of emotions in an album (“August and Everything After” by the Counting Crows is for you). Adam Duritz is a sufferer of depression and his personal demons are evident in his emotional diction.
Counting Crows burst onto the music scene in 1993, bringing 11 tracks of poetry, deep emotion and classic anthems on their debut album.
“Round Here” begins the album. Duritz infuses the song with poetic and metaphoric language, a depressed tale of uncertainty for life in general. The song speaks of Maria, a continued figure in Duritz’s songs. The song begins with, “Step out the front door like a ghost/Into the fog where no one notices/The contrast of white on white/And in between the moon and you/The angels get a better view/Of the crumbling difference between wrong and right.”
Duritz continues to tell Maria’s story with an electric guitar backing and rhythmic drum background, a girl who says she is “dying” and she’d “like to meet a boy who looks like Elvis.” Maria is depressed, so “she looks up on the building says she’s thinking of jumping.” Maria admits that “it’s only in (her) head.” Essentially, Maria is a metaphor for Duritz himself.
The album follows with the multi-instrumental Americana tune, “Omaha.” The song is an upbeat anthem for the middle of America. Duritz sings, “It’s the heart that matters more.”
The next song is perhaps one of the best of 1990s American songwriting, a track that will stay with Americans for years and years to come. A hit on the American Top 40 chart, “Mr. Jones” remains one of the Counting Crows’ most popular songs.
The song is upbeat, rhythmic and flawlessly written. Duritz says, “I want to be Bob Dylan/Mr. Jones wishes he was someone just a little more funky/When everybody loves you, son, that’s just about as funky as you can be.” He is speaking about wanting to be a big star, wanting to be happy, wanting to “make it.”
Again, Duritz speaks of wanting to make it when singing, “I want to be a lion/Everybody wants to pass as cats/We all want to be big, big stars, but we got different reasons/For that Believe in me because I don’t believe in anything/And I want to be someone to believe.”
Besides “Round Here” and “Mr. Jones,” the most poetic song on the album is “Anna Begins.” The song is deeply emotional, revealing confused agony, the tribulations of being deeply in love. From the verse, “It does not bother me to say this isn’t love/Because if you do not want to talk about it then it isn’t love,” it is evident that the song is about a consuming love.
The powerful emotion of the chorus can bring a listener to tears: “This time when kindness falls like rain/It washes me away/In addition, Anna begins to change my mind/And every time she sneezes I believe it’s love and/Oh lord, I’m not ready for this sort of thing.”
Other lines like “’These seconds when I’m shaking leave me shuddering for days,’ she says,” and “And every time she sneezes I believe it’s love” are equally as powerful.
Another key track is “Rain King.” The song has a catchy melody, memorable lyrics and is the most traditional pop-rock track on the album. Similar to the other tracks on the album, “Rain King” follows the genre of 1990s adult rock.
Because of classics like “Mr. Jones” and “Round Here,” Counting Crows easily gained a large fan base and key tracks are still played on the radio today.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Sara Juliet Fruman at Sara.firstname.lastname@example.org.