Day Nine: “August and Everything After” – Counting Crows

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/ angels get a better view of the crumbling difference between wrong and right/ I walk in the air between the rain/ through myself and back again/ Where? I don’t know/ Maria says she’s dying/ through the door I hear her crying/ Why? I don’t know.

My introduction to Counting Crows actually came with an old screenwriting professor and movie I was writing for grad school about a group of friends obsessed with the band. In writing the movie I listened a lot of their discography up until that point but August and Everything After was the record that stuck with me. Filled with gems and some of their most well known songs, it’s their most perfect record hands down. It’s the most sonically consistent, it’s the most lyrically poignant, and it’s the most interesting (though Recovering the Satellites gives it a run for its money). Though I love all their albums, half of them feel like they were trying to rewrite this record.

Anyone who has ever loved this album has said the same thing: it’s an album you can take solace in. A lot of these songs are sad, touching on the loneliness of existence and the pain of watching love fade with no hope of counteracting its atrophy. While some discredit Duritz’s vocals, I believe it compliments the lyrics. Through the imperfections and inflections in his voice, you feel the tension of the song. More than a hitting all the right notes, Duritz is about the performance, which pretty much blows everything I thought about recording out of the water. If Into It. Over It. taught me the power of setting, Adam Duritz taught me the power of story. The man is both a poet and a storyteller, writing images and scenes, characters and conflict.

I’ll admit that when I first heard this album I didn’t get it but the more I hear it, the more I’m overcome with nostalgia for a time period I wasn’t even cognizant of. How I long to go back there.

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