When I was a little girl I remember waking up to the sounds of August and Everything After by the Counting Crows blasting through the house stereo on Sunday morning as my father would cook up a massive brunch and the smells of bacon, eggs, and bagels consumed the house. It’s such a pleasant memory to relive and every time I hear that record I think about those weekends. Needless to say, over the years, I have become a huge Counting Crows fan following them from one record to the next.
Sure, This Desert Life and Hard Candy were a little quirky, but there was still something to be said about each. Then, last week, Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings was released (the Counting Crows 5th studio album). The concept for which came about from a song that didn’t make the final cut on their 2nd album, Recovering The Satellites. The song being “1492” and, as stated by Adam Duritz, lead singer, at an iTunes live appearance in Los Angeles this week, the band felt this song  needed to be expressed and became their inspiration for the creation of what is now Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings.
If I had started this article before seeing the Counting Crows live this week, I would’ve told you about how much the new record reminds me of the Recovering The Satellites era and gives kudos to August & Everything After. Then I would’ve gone on to explain how perfectly written track 3, “Los Angeles,” is. Co-written by Adam Duritz & Ryan Adams (and producer Dave Gibbs), I can’t think of a more perfect songwriter combination. In fact, now I want to hear a Duritz/Adams project! But as Adam Duritz said himself, he’s not one of those guys who likes to just jump on stage with anybody. After giving props to those points, I probably would’ve listed my disappointments in this album. However, I don’t have any disappointments now.
On Thursday, April 3rd, I got the chance to see the Counting Crows perform at The Grove in Los Angeles for free. They played for close to 2 hours, stopping between songs to answer questions from the audience. Having never seen the band I’ve admired for so long live before was a huge treat and just as I suspected, their songs translate in a whole new level live. Since most of the performance was based around the new record, I got to hear songs I wasn’t particularly fond of recorded (i.e., “Hanging Tree” and “Insignificant”) and discovered the beauty in each of those tracks.
Now, I’m not one to immediately like an album because I liked the last or because I’m just a huge fan of the band or because they are friends of mine, each and every album has a fair shot with me; and I have to say that the Counting Crow’s Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings might be the closest album to perfection I’ve come across in this decade. Way to go! ~ Chelsea Schwartz