Counting Crows – August and Everything After
Do I Own The Vinyl Yet: No
What Makes It Shrine Material: In the beginning of a kind of strange era of alternative music (ca. 1993), this album really stands out as one that possesses soul and raw emotive power from start to finish. Singer and songwriter Adam Duritz pours himself into every track on this album, backed by a very tight and tasteful band.
Best Lyric: “I wanted to see you walking backwards To get the sensation of you coming home, I wanted to see you walking away from me Without the sensation of you leaving me alone”
I was very late in checking out this album, having not really heard much from it until around the middle of 2013, a full 20 years after its release. Since then, it’s quickly become one of my favorite albums (ask Jess, I think she’s heard it a million times by now).
This album is just so interesting from start to finish. Right from the opening lines, with Duritz singing over a mild alternating guitar line in “Round Here” to the massive, full-band, upbeat arena rock sound that ends “A Murder of One”, this album rises and falls flawlessly for its duration. There are moments when you want to jump up and dance, like “Rain King” or the better known “Mr. Jones”, and then there are times when you just want to sit down and hang on every note, like “Perfect Blue Buildings” and “Ghost Train”. The latter two of these showcase the way that Counting Crows’ quiet and mellow songs can be showcased by the production of the album.
One of the impressive parts of this album is the way it was put together. While the two main songwriters of the band had been playing together for a long time, the rest of the band fell in just as they were ready to start recording. The album itself was recorded by a band without a lot of experience or chemistry, yet it is arguably the bands best album, and definitely the one that put them on the map.
All in all, this is an album that will both make you stop and contemplate the stories that Duritz tells, and jump up and down in excitement over the upbeat numbers. The dancier songs serve as an emotional break from the more raw ones, creating an album that will leave you happy and sad all at the same time.