Counting Crows
August And Everything After


4.0
excellent

Review

by Med57 EMERITUS
January 18th, 2005 | 121 replies | 21,049 views


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist


The Band: Adam Duritz (Vocals)
David Bryson (Guitar)
David Immergluck (Guitar)
Dan Vickrey (Guitar)
Matt Malley (Bass Guitar)
Charles Gillingham (Keyboards)
Ben Mize (Drums)

Released: 1993 (Geffen)

When many people think of Counting Crows, their instinctive reaction is to remember the countless American soft rock bands that have followed in their footsteps. They, as a result of this, sometimes make the illogical comparison that Counting Crows are exactly like all those bands. These are normally people that have not heard this album. August And Everything After was the debut album released by the band, and in the eyes of many, and certainly of me, it remains the finest thing they have yet recorded. The entire album showcases the band's, and in particular Adam Duritz's, ability to tell a story with their music, and can probably best be compared to some of the finer moments of Van Morrison, among others.

The Review

1. Round Here. Opening with a chiming guitar part, Adam Duritz immediately starts showing off his voice, musing deeply over a presumably fictional girl. This song is fairly typical of the album, as it's effectively a short story in just over 5 minutes. Musically it's nothing complex, although the fact that there are 7 members of the band means that they create a greater depth to their music than many bands can. It takes on almost a jazzy feel in the middle section, and serves as a mellow, and yet effective opening. 4.5/5

2. Omaha. This song has one line which sums up the band for me. "Omaha, somewhere in middle America", particularly sung in Duritz's hugely evocative voice tells any first time listener that possibly the great charm of this band is that they sing about things that everyday people go through. While this sounds as if it could be monotonous, it is in fact anything but. As a song, this is very much drum led, with swirling backing vocals providing a very melodious back up to the story of the song. 4.5/5

3. Mr Jones. More than any other song, this is the one that shot Counting Crows to fame, and the one that you will almost certainly have heard on the radio. With a more upbeat tone than most others on the album, the song is a great example of how to write a good radio-friendly rock song. Again, I don't mean this in any bad way, as it is not easy to do (just compare the many acts that have tried to follow this). The vocals here in particular show off Duritz's vocal range, being almost yelped at times, and at others sung in his trademark confident way. The mid-song breakdown here is one of my favourite moments off the album, when the music slows down, coming almost to a halt, leaving Duritz singing "I want to be someone" over the top. And, of course, there's the moment when he sings "I want to be Bob Dylan". While he is not at Dylan's immortal standard of songwriting as telling a story of everyday life, he's made a better attempt at it than most with this album, and in particularly, with this song. 5/5

4. Perfect Blue Buildings. Probably the most wistful song on the album, the guitars and keyboards remains very much in the background for the duration of the song. The lyrics back this feeling up, with lines such as "I can't keep myself away from me." This has more in common with a Radiohead song in terms of it's feeling and nature of the lyrics( which dwell heavily on the futile nature of everyday life and the manner in which people ignore this)than anything else, and is a solid track on the album. 4/5

5. Anna Begins. The first thing that always strikes me about this song is the way that it seems to jump around, largely due to the syncopation of the drumming. Although it doesn't sound right at first, it grows on you, and mirrors the lyrics very well, with them basically being written as a stream of consciousness and Duritz seemingly talking to himself. Something I haven't dwelt on so far is the overall quality of the backing vocals, which is very high on this album, at least partially due to the fact that all 7 band members can, and at times do sing, creating very impressive layered vocals throughout, particularly notably in the conclusion to this song. 4.5/5

6. Time And Time Again. This song marks a slight dip in standards, in my opinion, partially due to the slower tempo, and repetition of the title meaning that the song doesn't really lead anywhere. There's some very nice effects lurking in the background during the chorus, which is stronger than the rest of the song, and the first genuine guitar solo but this is a weaker point of the album than many of the other songs. 3.5/5

7. Rain King. A far poppier song, that really bounces along over the top of the guitars, this sounds far happier than the lyrics actually are, which possibly reflects the confusion present in several of the band's songs. The lyrics deal with death, "When I think of heaven...I think of dying", but also with normal everyday feelings. While this makes the track something of a curiosity, it's a brilliantly upbeat song when listened to in the background, as well as being something that you can really get into if you wish. A definite improvement on the previous track, and this gets 4.5/5

8. Sullivan Street. Another very mellow song, and one that the piano is very noticeable in the background in, this has a greater depth to it that some of the other tracks on here don't. This is very much dealing with problems of love again, with lines such as, "I'm almost drowning in her sea". While it's not one of the standout tracks of the album, it's a very good album track and one that shows another angle to the band. As with many of their songs, the drumming, while nothing exceptional, is solid, and shows some of Mize's skills at grooving with the feel and tone of the track. 4/5

9. Ghost Train. Lyrically I'd say that this is one of the best songs on the album, with it genuinely reading like a short story rather than a song. Having said that though, I don't think that as a song it's anything exceptional, even within the album. The strongest point musically is when the song breaks down and the vocals stop, leaving what sounds like an improvisation between the keyboard, guitars, and an interesting jazzy style of drumming. 4/5

10. Raining In Baltimore. Another seriously mournful song, this is a favourite of mine. For some reason it really reminds me of David Gray, possibly due to the piano that dominates the song, and also due to the lyrical theme of a constant lack of change, and similarity with everything. A seeming paranoia about his lovers intentions, asking "What would you change if you could?" leaves the listener transfixed by the beauty of the song, and the way that Duritz's voice and lyrics merge so seamlessly with the piano. This is possibly the best song on here, and as a result of this gets 5/5.

11. A Murder Of One. They couldn't end the album on that note. This positively explodes into life with the guitars and drums playing a pure feel-good intro. Again, the lyrical content is somewhat dissimilar to the musical feel of the song, with Duritz telling a woman that "You should be ashamed, you don't want to waste your life", before subtly pointing out the distinction between him and her, singing, "I am feathered by the moonlight falling down on me." This definitely ends the album by leaving the listener feeling upbeat, and impressed with the anthemic nature of this song, that recalls some of U2's more romantically inclined rock songs. Along with the previous track, this also serves as a very strong end of the album, coming after a slight drop in the middle tracks of this record. 5/5

In summary, you should really not judge this album, or indeed this band, based on the easy listening, soft rock bands that America seems to have churned out on a regular basis since this record. For a start, Adam Duritz is a genuinely good singer and songwriter on most of his songs, and this album provides the best example of his, and his band's work. It's got a wide range of songs on, from wistfully mournful songs that reek of everyday loneliness and emotion that we all feel, to ebulliently joyful anthems. It is this, possibly more than anything else, which makes the band so effective, as there are few bands that can tap into everyday experience so simply, and yet so well. Adam Duritz may have wanted to be Bob Dylan, a goal which he has not attained, but based on this record he made a very good attempt at doing just that.

Final Rating: 4.2/5



Recent reviews by this author
Guns N' Roses Appetite for DestructionHanoi Rocks Two Steps From The Move
Savage Garden AffirmationTool 10,000 Days
Scott Walker TiltThe Pogues Rum Sodomy & the Lash
user ratings (337)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
lz41 (4.5)
Always on my mind......

JesusChris (5)
"These seconds when I'm shaking, leave me shuddering for days" She says, and I'm not ready for this ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Iai
Emeritus
March 20th 2005



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I totally love this album.

Iai
Emeritus
March 21st 2005



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This was a great album, especially for a debut album. Great stuff here, which I enjoy listening to time and time again.

Oh, and good review.

Edit: This was really posted by SpectrumGuitarist. Just clearing it up for anyone who might be confused. This Message Edited On 07.15.05

Iai
Emeritus
March 21st 2005



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Okay, what the Hell. I keep posting comments on reviews, and it always decides that I'm whoever posted above me. (I'm really SpectrumGuitarist) This is just stupid.

Iai
Emeritus
March 21st 2005



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

It's a bug, and it's been reported in the site forum.

(I really am Iai.)

Music_Is_My_Life
March 7th 2006



100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I just listened to this album and can't believe that I'd forgotten just how good it really is. It really brings back memories of summer days and listening to the radio in the car while cruising with friends and hearing Mr. Jones and thinking, this is the perfect summer moment. So much nostalgia and memories associated with this album. You know something is really great when it has that big an impact on the way you remember a moment or period of your life. Awesome review for a spectacular album.

tom79
March 7th 2006



3363 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is a great album, but i think i prefer "desert life" a bit more

Digging: Braid - No Coast

nag*with*a*gun
April 28th 2006



420 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You all must know that Counting Crows are way better live than not? I've heard Mr. Jones and Round Here and Rain King on thier live album, Across A Wire.

El_Goodo
April 30th 2006



1008 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

There great both live and on the albums. I prefer the album version of Mr. Jones, but the one on across a wire is still great. But the way they change their songs and improvise really makes them an amazing live band.

nag*with*a*gun
May 8th 2006



420 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah... I like Round Here much better on the live one... adam has a great voice, its so... hmmm... pretty

El_Goodo
November 1st 2006



1008 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

...Hmm..I disagree with your rating on Time and Time Again, thats one of my favourite songs on here!

elbrando
March 5th 2008



18 Comments


August and Everything After is one of my favourite albums ever. To me, the Counting Crows are like the heirs to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, except better. The storytelling and emotive quality of their songwriting is amazing on this album. I'd give it a 5/5, I don't think anyone has done this sort of an album better yet, and it's been 15 years. That's pretty classic.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
November 16th 2008



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is like all i've been listening to lately. so fucking good.

ConorMichaelJoseph
November 29th 2008



1870 Comments


Their best album in my opinion. I don't think their latest stuff lives up to this at all.

Iai
Emeritus
November 29th 2008



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

lol at the nonsense at the top of the comments here

gaslightanthem
February 5th 2009



5209 Comments


well this is so awesome

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
February 5th 2009



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i am feathered by the moonlight

gaslightanthem
February 5th 2009



5209 Comments


i walk along these hillsides in the summer 'neath the sunshine

Athom
Staff Reviewer
April 8th 2009



17195 Comments


If I knew Picasso, I would buy myself a grey guitar and play

rotterdog
June 20th 2009



487 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Omaha" makes me want to drive a tractor in missouri while chewing on some hay. Probably my favorite song on the album.

Knott-
Emeritus
June 20th 2009



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

weird, i got this yesterday. i love it. anna begins RULES.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy