With over 20 million albums sold worldwide, eight Top 5 singles, and three records that have broken the Top 5 on the Billboard 200, COUNTING CROWS are set to release their long awaited new album SATURDAY NIGHTS & SUNDAY MO... more »RNINGS. The record is the Crows' first studio album in almost 5 years, since the release of Hard Candy in 2002. Counting Crows Photos More from Counting Crows
With over 20 million albums sold worldwide, eight Top 5 singles, and three records that have broken the Top 5 on the Billboard 200, COUNTING CROWS are set to release their long awaited new album SATURDAY NIGHTS & SUNDAY MORNINGS. The record is the Crows' first studio album in almost 5 years, since the release of Hard Candy in 2002. Counting Crows Photos More from Counting Crows
August and Everything After [DELUXE EDITION]
New Amsterdam: Live at Heineken Music Hall
Films About Ghosts: The Best Of...
This Desert Life
Across A Wire: Live In New York City
Recovering the Satellites
August and Everything After
Brian Hartman | Scotch Plains, NJ United States | 03/27/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Counting Crows were somewhat written off after 2002's Hard Candy. Adam Duritz and the rest of the band, in that CD, put out a self-consciously pop CD, without a lot of meat on it. Then you had the infamous Coke commercial, and Shrek 2, which earned them an Oscar nomination but no accolades for credibility.
Well, on Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings, Counting Crows proves that they're not out of ideas, and haven't lost their drive. This is a fantastic CD that basically melds the folk sounds of August and Everything After with the harder edge and pathos of Recovering the Satellites.
If you're reading this review, you probably know by now the basic concept of the album: It's divided into a Saturday Nights portion and a Sunday Mornings portion. Saturday nights is when you sin, loudly and angrily. This "side" contains mostly electric guitar anger and bitterness, as the protagonist (i.e., Adam Duritz) slides deeper and deeper into depression and loss of self. The Sunday Mornings "side" contains songs of recovery, of trying to put your life back together. (The emphasis is on *trying*. Only in the final song, "Come Around", is there any kind of faint glimmer of hope on this CD.)
Here's how the songs pan out:
1) 1492 -- This is a song about losing yourself in the party scene. It's about the meaninglessness of casual (if not anonymous) sex with Italian models and careening through the underbelly of night life like a drunken Arthur Rimbaud. And it's about all the "people who impersonate our friends" you meet along the way. You can download this as part of a "digital 45" from their site, so I won't bother describing it for you. 7/10.
2) Hanging Tree -- This is one of the best songs on the CD. It's basically about not being able to connect with anyone: "You open windows, and you wait for someone warm to come inside, and then you freeze to death alone." This is really a guitar-driven tour de force. 9/10
3) Los Angeles -- On this one, Counting Crows basically channel the Rolling Stones. Here, Adam gets a little self-indulgent, with lyrics like,
If you see that movie star and me If you should see my picture in a magazine Or if you fall asleep while you're watching TV Well, honey, I'm just trying to make some sense Out of me.
It sounds like a song designed to say, "Hey, I'm just trying to enjoy myself here. Cut me some slack." Like I said, a little self indulgent. 6/10
4) Sundays -- This one was a surprise. After 3 hard-driving songs, this one is more laid back. It's got nice music, but I don't really understand it, other than he's expressing a lack of faith. 6/10
5) Insignificant -- Here, it's all about a search for meaning. The protagonist (this time not explicitly Adam) stands on the ledge of a building, looking out over the crowd, believing he can fly -- *needing* to believe he can fly, to find some significance in his life. It's really a different way of expressing "Mr. Jones": He wants to be seen, to be noticed, and to mean something in the world. He also wants to be special, without feeling "different" because he's in some celebrity bubble. Great music, decent concept. 8/10
6) Cowboys -- Here, the protagonist is so desperate to be feel something, to mean something in the world, that he becomes a serial killer. The climax of the song is, "Oh, I will MAKE you look at me!". If it wasn't over 5 minutes long, this would be the perfect single. It's hard driving, wonderful, twisted lyrics (the protagonist is a paranoid schizophrenic), and every part of the music builds to the devastating, crumbling climax. 9/10
7) Washington Square -- This is a song about picking yourself up and getting yourself together to go out and live your life again. Quiet, introspective music, and Adam is at his pensive best here. 9/10.
8) On Almost Any Sunday Morning -- Here, the protagonist has taken the wrong woman home, just because he doesn't want to be alone. But he wakes up, and he's alone anyway. He also talks about taking lithium here (to control his depression, apparently). By the end of the song, he vows to find someone real to be with, and not to settle for the one-night stands:
"You dig yourself a dream That we won't be coming home alone Not this time..."
This is really a brilliant song. It's the one that reminds me most of the sound of August and Everything After (and even more specifically "Round Here"). 10/10
9) When I Dream of Michaelangelo -- If you've ever wondered what the line "I dream of Michaelangelo when I'm lying in my bed", from "Angels of the Silences" means, this is the song for you. This song has been puttering around in Adam Duritz's head since at least Recovering the Satellites. It's a beautiful ballad about being so close to someone, yet never being able to touch who they really are. "Well I know, she is not my friend, 'cause there she goes, walking on my skin again and again". 8/10
10) Anyone But You -- The best way to describe this song is, the protagonist is in a relationship, and he can't handle it. His eye is on the door. He's not together enough for a relationship.
"I'm almost ready. Yeah, it's almost true. For almost anyone but you."
It's got a real 70's feel to it. Not my favorite song, but not unpleasant. 6/10.
11) You Can't Count On Me -- Adam has said he's got 4 albums describing why women should stay as far away from him as possible. This song basically sums it up. He's not Mr. Reliable. Again, not my favorite, but serviceable. 7/10
12) Le Ballet D'Or -- Think of this one as philosophically akin to Eagles' "Wasted Time". The protagonist is tired of being mired in self-loathing and self-pity, and wants to get out and live: "So come on now, let's go dance to the siren's song...". It marks a turning point in the CD, because it's the point where the protagonist realizes, finally, that although he's screwed up his life with the wrong turns he took, that he still has a life to live. A very beautiful, lilting song. 9/10.
13) On A Tuesday In Amsterdam Long Ago -- The protagonist remembers an old love, and laments her. It's the closest they've come to "Raining in Baltimore" for quite some time. I'm not a fan of "Raining in Baltimore", though. The song is too long and repetitious. (For fun, count how many times he says, "Come back to me..."). 2/10
14) Come Around -- This is, by far, the most hopeful song on the CD, and my favorite. By this time, the protagonist's fog has cleared. Things aren't great, but he sees the hope in life. His girlfriend just dumped him, but that's okay. The song ends:
"And one of the million lies she said Is 'All of the things you loved are dead.', But I've seen what she thinks is love And it leaves me laughing So we'll (meaning the band, I guess) still come around."
Overall, this is their best work since Recovering the Satellites, by a wide margin. If you lost faith after Hard Candy, give this a try. it won't disappoint you!"
evanjamesroskos | nj | 03/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've had a soft spot for Counting Crows, despite being a music snob (according to my wife, anyway). There's just something perfectly enjoyable about the music and lyrics. I've always felt Duritz was a great lyricist, even though he seems to come across as self-obsessed (his songs never seem to embody characters and so many of them are are about "looking at me" that it's hard to see any identities in the songs); his biggest weakness as a writer/singer is his proclivity to repeat certain phrases too many times. "American Girls" suffers from this a lot; on this album "Hanging Tree" has some annoying repetition. But his use of place and strange strings of imagery are always satisfying.
I've always held their first two albums as my favorites (both have different strengths). Saturday Nights... is quite strong, though it's not necessarily anything new or exciting. I think 1492, Insignificant, and Cowboys would make it onto any Crows mix I make from now on. "When I Dream of Michaelangelo" is a great call back to "Angels of the Silences" on album 2. "Sundays" moves from chipper to a more emotional chorus. And the band doesn't lose a chance to rock out when necessary."
I got a fever, and the only prescription is more Crows...
Michael Barash | Marin, CA | 03/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So yes, I'm the guy who has every Crows album since the early 90s; has collected import CD and radio performances; occasionally trades on the Counting Crows trading network with other music dorks; and has gone on several man-dates to Crows concerts with my buddies. Sure the man-dates have been accidental - i.e. we didn't realize until we were sharing a blanket at Shoreline drinking Coors Light just the two of us that we were on a man-date - but that excuse really only covers you the first time, right?
I love the Crows. And people often think that this means they get a free pass because I get so geeked up to hear the new albums that I'll dig anything they put out. I argue it's the opposite - my expectations are so high, and I have so many awesome memories tied to Crows songs, concerts, car rides, life experiences, etc. that I'm actually twice as hard on the band as your casual fan.
And this, in my opinion, is their strongest album since Recovering the Satellites. Duritz has apparently gone down some crazy life paths since the release of the last album that wasn't live or a best-of compilation. And that's been 6 years. I think Hard Candy was 2002. This sounds like Duritz's most inspired album maybe ever - the emotion is there, each track is pretty solid, and after only one full listen I'm ready to anoint this top 3 status in the Crows' catalog (which I realize isn't that extensive).
Bottom line Johnson - if you like the Crows, you'll enjoy every minute of this album. It's what you expect, but it surpasses those expectations and over-delivers. I'm (clearly) impressed."
Good things come to those who wait...
Wendy A. Tedesco | White Plains, NY USA | 03/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"We've waited 15 years for this! Finally, an album that has more of an "August and Everything After" feel! That is that Counting Crows freshman release that we all fell in love with. For Gen Xer's like myself, AAEA was a soundtrack to our awkward transitional years and will always hold a special place in our music loving hearts!
This album will replace "Recovering the Satellites" for those of you who ranked it as second best in your CC collection!"
Counting Crows have really "Come Around"
JOHN P. HANSSEN | ventura, CA USA | 03/28/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This latest outing by Adam Duritz and company has got to one of the best in a quite a while. All the tracks pretty much contain the Counting Crows we really enjoyed during early to mid-90's. Despite how good this latest effort is, however, I am in agreement with a number of reviewers here that it still is not as monumental as "August and Everything After". In fact, I don't know if they will ever be able create another album as good as that one, but "Saturday Nights" comes pretty doggone close and it is definitely worth a listen.
Stand out track for me is "Come Around", which ranks right up there with the awesome tunes we all fell in love with from "August" and "Satellites".
At any rate, "Saturday Nights" still proves that the Crows still have the ability to fly high.