Listen Up: Wednesday, August 8, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Counting Crows

Hard Candy (Geffen Records)

By Ken Shimamoto

One of my guilty pleasures of the last decade (the other: the Dave Matthews Band) was Counting Crows’ 1993 debut disc, August and Everything After. Sure, Adam Duritz whined in that angsty post-Vedder manner that radio seemed to love so much for a while. But the boy had the songcraft to back it up — although I’ll admit that maybe I was suckered by his band’s tendency to sound like “old” FM rock staples a la mid-period Dylan, Van Morrison, even the Band. It didn’t even matter that nothing on their subsequent releases was as memorable as the best five or six songs from that debut.

This new one is something different, however. For one thing, Duritz seems to have gotten over his depression, or at least has learned to laugh in the face of it. As my daughter said after auditioning Hard Candy: “He’s not singing about losing himself anymore ... he’s singing about ‘American Girls’” (which, of course, is the first single). And why shouldn’t he be? What better to sing about, after all?

The other change here is the sound of the band itself. Hard Candy features a much more integrated and assured ensemble than the earlier albums. The band boys still aren’t flashy players, and every keyboard flourish, drum fill, and guitar lick is designed to serve the songs — as is proper. But the muscular and well-recorded playing here reveals the other Crows to be much more than the nonentities they’d always seemed to be. And dig the little extras: the strings on “Butterfly In Reverse,” the irresistible synth hook on “New Frontier,” the trumpet on “Carriage.”

If that’s not enough, there’s also a nifty cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” as a bonus track.


Email this Article...

Back to Top


Copyright 2002 to 2017 FW Weekly.
3311 Hamilton Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76107
Phone: (817) 321-9700 - Fax: (817) 335-9575 - Email Contact
Archive System by PrimeSite Web Solutions