11 Songs, 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

San Francisco’s Counting Crows’ debut album was a classic rock radio programmer’s dream. Finally, here was a collection of hook-heavy tunes delivered by a singer who’d studied his Dylan-Van Morrison-Jagger phrasings and whose backing ensemble knew how to judiciously apply organ, piano, acoustic and electric guitar to a no-nonsense backing groove. The formula seems so simple and obvious, but then why are there so few albums as immediately impressive as 1993’s August and Everything After? The answer here is songwriting. The album contains an overabundance of magical ideas, from the opening, unwinding drama of “Round Here” that suggests Springsteen at his most lyrical and theatrical, through the Band-Van Morrison jaunt of “Omaha,” the rollicking yet yearning “Mr. Jones” and the moody life-or-death introspection of “Perfect Blue Buildings,” “Anna Begins” and “Sullivan Street.” Counting Crows were a group who looked to do it all. The confidence can be heard in the band’s loose swagger and its intricate weave of accordion textures that never tip the group too far into the Americana graveyard where many traditionalists accidentally tilt their fortunes.

EDITORS’ NOTES

San Francisco’s Counting Crows’ debut album was a classic rock radio programmer’s dream. Finally, here was a collection of hook-heavy tunes delivered by a singer who’d studied his Dylan-Van Morrison-Jagger phrasings and whose backing ensemble knew how to judiciously apply organ, piano, acoustic and electric guitar to a no-nonsense backing groove. The formula seems so simple and obvious, but then why are there so few albums as immediately impressive as 1993’s August and Everything After? The answer here is songwriting. The album contains an overabundance of magical ideas, from the opening, unwinding drama of “Round Here” that suggests Springsteen at his most lyrical and theatrical, through the Band-Van Morrison jaunt of “Omaha,” the rollicking yet yearning “Mr. Jones” and the moody life-or-death introspection of “Perfect Blue Buildings,” “Anna Begins” and “Sullivan Street.” Counting Crows were a group who looked to do it all. The confidence can be heard in the band’s loose swagger and its intricate weave of accordion textures that never tip the group too far into the Americana graveyard where many traditionalists accidentally tilt their fortunes.

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