Counting Crows – August & Everything After
Recently, I’ve found myself listening to Triple M a couple of nights a week. At my new place of employment, we’re allowed to have the radio on, and with many of my coworkers being male football fans, it’s always tuned to the Ms. In the past I’ve written about my ties to this particular radio station, so I won’t go into that here, but let’s just say that I like quite a bit of the music that they play, and therefore generally don’t feel the need to re-tune the radio every time I start a shift.
9pm weeknights, they have a feature where they play a “classic album that changed your life” in full, with a couple of relevant soundbites from band members in between tracks. Over the past month, these albums have included Powderfinger’s Odyssey Number 5, INXS’ Kick and Oasis’ What’s the Story Morning Glory. Big albums. So I was a little surprised last week to hear that the featured album was to be Counting Crows’ August and Everything After. Sure, I like Counting Crows, but life-changing? I don’t think so.
Most people would only recognise one or two tracks from the record – with “Mr Jones” being the obvious single. In fact, until they came back with that cover of “Big Yellow Taxi”, you could have almost argued that they didn’t have any other hit singles in Australia. Triple M certainly didn’t play any of them [trust me, I know. I listened to the station every day back then]. “Colorblind” was on the Cruel Intentions soundtrack, but it’s from a later album. Yes, Counting Crows were a big band in the 90s – and this album may have made it to #12 on the ARIA chart [thanks, Wikipedia] – but firstly, more people bought albums back then [as opposed to downloading single songs off iTunes], and secondly, I’m still quite unsure about this “life-changing” label.
Now, I’d just like to point out that I really do like Counting Crows. I wouldn’t call myself a big fan, but I own their greatest hits, and I enjoy the songs of theirs that I know. However, after listening to August and Everything After in full, I came an interesting realisation: if I discovered Counting Crows now, I don’t think that I’d really like them all that much. “Mr Jones” might still get me, as it is so very catchy, but the rest of it is rather bland. Six tracks off the record made it onto the greatest hits compilation [strange considering only three of them were released as singles, and the fourth single didn’t make the cut]. When they were played during this radio broadcast, I listened fondly. I really liked these songs, not just because they were familiar to me, but because of the memories I have of liking them in the past. I remembered listening to “Round Here” while on a train in France six years ago. “Mr Jones” had me getting up early to see the clip on Video Hits.
But the other songs on August and Everything After, I didn’t like. None of them. My taste in music has changed over the years, and while I still like the songs that I used to, I just can’t find myself accepting the ones that I don’t know. I’m sure that if I’d bought this album ten or fifteen years ago, then I would have really enjoyed it. It can’t be a coincidence that the only good songs off the album, the only ones that I like, made it onto the greatest hits. It doesn’t work that way. So all that I can conclude is that I used to like Counting Crows, and I used to enjoy their style of music. I no longer enjoy their music, but I maintain a soft spot for the songs of theirs that I have loved in the past, and therefore can still enjoy them. So I still do like Counting Crows. But not anymore…
It’s complicated, and really strange. And it makes me wonder if anyone else has experienced this [or has any idea of what I’m trying to explain here].