Is It Wrong to Like Counting Crows?

Categories: Talking Shit
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Still got the hair, but where's the poetry?
Editor's note: Is It Wrong is a therapeutic column examining feelings we have about music that just aren't quite right. To ease any discomfort, County Grind will explore these emotions and thoughts, breaking down from whence our feelings of guilt, disgust, and shame arise. And, as they say, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

This is not about Adam Duritz's dreads or his wailing through "Mr. Jones." I never cared for the  Counting Crows' habit of mangling their songs when performing live. No, I love them because I used the lyrics to "Round Here" for a poetry assignment in seventh-grade English.

Round here, we talk just like lions/But we sacrifice like lambs/Round here, she's slipping though my hands.

The nonsensical simile, the angst, the earnest strumming! It still makes the 13-year-old in me swoon.

August and Everything After was an album that moved mountains of emotional baggage. Every song haunted and pleaded, and they built on one another in a rare and ravaging way. Just try to listen to "Anna Begins" without a clenching in your chest. OK, maybe you feel nauseous instead. But Jennifer Aniston fell for it. What were legions of teenaged girls to do?

Granted, the band has gone downhill since the '90s. I toted around a dubbed cassette of Recovering the Satellites for a few years. "A Long December" and "Goodnight Elisabeth" still brought that familiar uplifting depression, like the moody, artsy boys you fall for until you realize they are alcoholics. By the time "Big Yellow Taxi" came along, I was over it.

Now, listening to Underwater Sunshine, the depression returns in a different way. What the hell happened? Who came up with this soul-sucking mendacity, and is that person feeding Duritz Klonopin? (All the songs are covers, so that explains some of the awfulness -- but not all of it.)

It's tough to witness this kind of self-destruction. But still, knowing the Counting Crows are performing at SunFest makes me wonder: Will they perform "Omaha" for nostalgia's sake? And can I sing along?

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After returning from the Crows' concert at the LA Club Nokia (which as an aside to Chris, is not a county fair, although one of the most memorable CC concerts I've attended was at the 2007 NY State Fair), the only clenching I felt in my chest was from reading your column, which evidences only self-absorption, lack of insight, and baseless claims (i.e. you say the band went downhill in the 90s, then it must be so!)  However, no hard feelings. I'll send you a Foster the People CD.  Oh, sorry.  The cassette was unavailable.

Rich Abdill
Rich Abdill

I hate to question your seventh-grade paper, but I think the simile makes more sense if the line is "Round here, we talk just like lions/But we sacrifice like lambs."

In any case, it is totally not wrong to like the Counting Crows. "It's raining in Baltimore, everything else is the same..."

Christopher Hickman
Christopher Hickman

Nice Writeup, Lisa.  I think you have them pegged. Sadly... working the county fair tour more or less... certainly, not the Rolling Stones.

Lisa Rab
Lisa Rab

Thanks for catching that, Rich.That's what I get for blogging after midnight. It's corrected above.

Lisa Rab
Lisa Rab

Thanks for the support, Christopher. I'd say Sunfest is better than the average county fair, but I see your point.

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