Counting Crows
Across A Wire


4.5
superb

Review

by El_Goodo USER (19 Reviews)
June 19th, 2006 | 11 replies


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist


Led by Adam Duritz's powerful voice, and Dylan-esque songwriting the Counting Crows launched into the mainstream with their debut album August and Everything After and hit single Mr. Jones. The album peaked on the Billboard Charts at number 4, and is often mentioned when the topic of the best album of the 90's is brought up. The album was like a breath of fresh-air coming out in the middle of the hurricane that was the grunge scene. Intimate lyrics, soulful singing, memorable hooks, and a band that sounded as if they'd been playing together for decades contrasted greatly with the lose sound of the grunge bands. With Mr. Jones being the only song of it's type on the album it would have been very easy to write the Crows off as one hit wonders, well maybe 4 hit wonders since the album also produced the singles Round Here, Rain King, and A Murder Of OneBut when their follow-up album Recovering The Sattelites shot up the charts to number 1 on the strength of the singles A Long December, and Angels Of The Silences, there was little doubt that the Counting Crows truly had something special.

Simply listening to the Counting Crows studio albums would never allow you to fully understand, and appreciate the amount of talent the band has. Listening to the band live is a totally different experience. Much like the artists they were influenced by (such as Bob Dylan) the Counting Crows view the stage as a place to re-invent their songs, jam, try new things, and just have fun. This is imediatley evident as soon as the first disc begins with an unrecognazible guitar riff (unless you've heard The Himalayans, Adam Duritz's first bands, version of the song) that is eventually revealed as [b]Round Here[b/] once Adam sings the recognizable line "Step out the front door like a ghost into a fog/where no one notices the contrast of white on white." The song manages to eclipse the original recording in terms of the emotion and intimacy that can be felt while listening to the song, mainly in-part to Adam's wailing vocals that only seldom venture out of tune. But also due to the added parts such as the end where Adam cries out "I'm lonely, lonely, lonely without you!"

Have You Seen Me Lately once covered in distorted guitars, and played as an up-tempo rocker shows up on this album as a beautiful acoustic ballad decorated with melodic piano lines, and topped with a riviting vocal performance. This is the only song on the album that manages to better the original, although many come close. Angels Of The Silences, and Catapult both formally up-tempo rockers (especially the first) are presented on this disc with an acoustic-country feel. Mr. Jones is completley revamped taking away the jangly chord progression instead replacing it with a repeating guitar line accompanied by an organ. Rain King,Mercury, and Ghost Train pick up the pace a little by introducing some electric guitar to the album, but still manage to contributed to the feel of the album by remaining driven mostly by the acoustic guitar. Anna Begins appears to close the album but after many minutes of what would make you believe that your record was over a seceret unreleased song titled Chelsea begins, driven by piano and some brass instruments the song has a jazzy feel to it, and is driven like most other songs on the album by the emotional and riviting vocal delivery.

Disc 2 has a totally different feel from the first disc in that it feels more like a concert. The sound of the crowd can be heard throughout the songs, and there are alot more electric songs. Recovering The Sattelites stays almost completley true to the album version with the exception of the changing of the phrasing of the vocals. Angels Of The Silences, Have You Seen Me Lately, and Rain King all make a second appearance this time in their more raw and rocking versions. Round Here sounds as though it's going to be a run through of the record version but where as the record version lasts only 5:24 this version clocks up to exactly 10 minutes. Following the bridge the band goes off into a spaceous jam with Adam improvising some suprisingly beautiful lyrics as well as borrowing some lyrics from other Crows songs (Have You Seen Me Lately) over top of the bands music that sounds almost otherwordly. This track follows the acoustic version of Have You Seen Me Lately as the best and most worthwhile track on the album. The rest of the tracks follow in the vein of the first track in that they sound like their official counterparts only with slight differences. But due to Adam's unpredictable voice, and the small changes, people who have heard the originals will have enough new sounds to keep them interested and enjoying the album while people who have not heard the originals (in which case...why are you starting with this album?) will be impressed by the intimacy of the songs, as well as the extreme level of musicianship that can be heard on the album.



Recent reviews by this author
George Harrison Living In The Material WorldIron Maiden A Matter of Life and Death
Counting Crows New Amsterdam: Live at Heineken Music Hall 2003Bob Dylan Modern Times
Bob Dylan Love and TheftMeat Loaf Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell
user ratings (38)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
nag*with*a*gun (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
El_Goodo
June 19th 2006


1008 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hmm I'm not too sure about the ending but it's 3:19 AM and the energy I had when I started the review has slowly depleted.

*Promotion* The new Crows live album New Amsterdam is out tommorow June 20th! Features one new song! *Promotion* This Message Edited On 06.19.06

Isola
June 19th 2006


421 Comments


Well written review, I like these guys, haven't listened too much though.

metallicaman8
June 19th 2006


4677 Comments


Adequate review.

Patrick
June 19th 2006


1891 Comments


Sadly the new album was recorded before the time of their best known song, "Accidentally In Love." They're still good though.

STLMiguel
June 19th 2006


335 Comments


"Accidentally in Love" sucked and it would have been the worst song on Hard Candy.

tom79
June 19th 2006


3372 Comments


I agree Accidentally in Love was not that great. Just because it is popular doesn't make it great.

Nice Review, I need to get this sometime.

Digging: Business Models - Room

El_Goodo
June 19th 2006


1008 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think it's a great song, I see it the other way around just because it was popular doesn't mean it sucks. It's a perfect pop song, but I think that Mr. Jones is still their most known song.

Adequate review.


Anything in particular you didn't like about it?

Isola
June 19th 2006


421 Comments


Hard Candy is my personal favorite and I don't know and don't care if it has been a single or if it's very popular.

Patrick
July 28th 2006


1891 Comments


*Promotion* The new Crows live album New Amsterdam is out tommorow June 20th! Features one new song! *Promotion*


I looked on the back and it had like only one song I'd heard of. I'd still like to see them and the goo goo dolls live.

STLMiguel
July 29th 2006


335 Comments


Counting Crows are so, so, so, so much better than the Goo Goo Dolls. I mean, they
aren't even in the same universe.This Message Edited On 07.29.06

El_Goodo
August 1st 2006


1008 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I looked on the back and it had like only one song I'd heard of. I'd still like to see them and the goo goo dolls live.


There is only one new song on the cd...that didn't stop me from enjoying it.



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 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy