Thursday, March 27, 2008

Number 515 - Counting Crows


Number 515

Counting Crows

"Mr Jones"

(1993)
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Genre:Alt Rock
Yes! Finally, I have Guitar Hero 3 for the Wii. Let me just say this ..... IT ROCKS! The first night i was as coordinated as Hillary Clinton giving interviews about porkies. The 2nd night ..... 95% with Metallica's "One" on easy level .... ecstatic! 3rd night? .... medium level and the immortal words .. "Uh Oh" Oh well, at least its fun and i can see now whyso many people rave about it, especially if you can't play a guitar like me. Long ago i use to have a Ibanez rocket red electric guitar. I remember when i bought it , went home, plugged it in and this horrendous sound came out of the amp. Couldnt be me, surely. So i took it back to the shop, the assistant looked at me as if i was from another planet and quickly plugged the rocket red into the shop amp and started to shred like Joe Satriani himself. It was me. So now you know why i love my Guitar Hero 3. Now i can shred the guitar like that bastich in the shop! *Finger*
Will i ever get this good?
With their angst-filled hybrid of Van Morrison, the Band, and R.E.M., Counting Crows became an overnight sensation in 1994. Only a year earlier, the band was a group of unknown musicians, filling in for the absent Van Morrison at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony; they were introduced by an enthusiastic Robbie Robertson. Early in 1993, the band recorded their debut album, August and Everything After, with T-Bone Burnett; it was released in the fall. It was a dark, somber record, driven by the morose lyrics and expressive vocals of Adam Duritz; the only up-tempo song, "Mr. Jones," became their ticket to stardom. What made Counting Crows was how they were able to balance Duritz's tortured lyrics with the sound of the late '60s and early '70s; it made them one of the few alternative bands to appeal to listeners who thought that rock & roll died in 1972.
High 5
Recovering the Satellites followed in 1996, and in 1998 they issued the two-disc Across a Wire: Live in New York. Counting Crows' third studio album, This Desert Life, appeared in 1999. In the midst of recording and collaborating with Ryan Adams on his sophomore album, Gold, Duritz joined his band in the studio as well. The fruit of those sessions was the Steve Lillywhite-produced fourth album, Hard Candy. The next year saw the release of the best-of Films About Ghosts, and in 2004 Counting Crows reminded fans of their ability to write a hit single with "Accidentally in Love," which appeared on the Shrek 2 soundtrack. Two years later, New Amsterdam: Live at Heineken Music Hall, recorded from a show on February 6, 2003, was made available to the public. ~ [Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide]
For Metallica visit Mellow Mix Vol 1 #033
For Joe Satriani see Number 688
For Van Morrison see Number 987
For REM see Number 712 & Number 597
Who is Mr Jones?
pic by blap
"Mr. Jones" entered the American Top 40 on February 19, 1994, and entered the Top 10 five weeks later. On April 23, "Mr. Jones" passed R. Kelly's "Bump n' Grind", taking the number-one position (which it surrendered, the following week, to Prince's "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World"). The band's surprise success happened to coincide with Kurt Cobain's death. These events took a significant toll on Adam Duritz, the lead vocalist and principal songwriter. Said Duritz in an interview: "We heard that, that [Kurt] had shot himself. And it really scared the hell out of me because I thought, these things in my life are getting so out of control..."These events and feelings were the basis for "Catapult", the first track of Recovering the Satellites.
art by Katitof
The primary topic of the song itself is perhaps how two struggling musicians (Duritz and bassist Marty Jones of The Himalayans) "want to be big stars," believing that "when everybody loves me, I will never be lonely". Duritz would later recant these values, and in later concert appearances, "Mr. Jones" was played in a subdued acoustic style, if at all. Most directly referencing this, on the live CD "Across A Wire" Duritz changes the lyrics "We all wanna be big, big stars, but we got different reasons for that" to "We all wanna be big, big stars, but then we get second thoughts about that," and "when everybody loves you, sometimes that's just about as funky as you can be" to "when everybody loves you, sometimes that's just about as fucked up as you can be." The song is often interpreted differently. One popular belief is that "Mr. Jones" refers to Adam's penis, [wtf?] although Duritz has refuted this claim. Others believe it is a thinly veiled reference to the protagonist of Bob Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man", a theory supported by the lyric "I wanna be Bob Dylan, Mr. Jones wishes he was someone just a little more funky." Others have suggested that Mr. Jones refers to Marty Jones's father. When the Counting Crows would perform the song during the tour in support of Recovering the Satellites, it would often include the first verse from The Byrds' "So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star?" This version was often acoustic and was even performed on VH1's Storytellers. The Talking Heads also wrote a song called "Mr. Jones", on the album Naked. Coincidentally, the title character of that song is famous and wealthy.
For Prince see Number 812
For more Prince visit Mellow Mix Vol 1#136
For Bob Dylan see Number 929 & Number 841
For Talking Heads see Number 533
For R Kelly visit Mellow Mix Vol1 #127
What does Rolling Stone think of Counting Crows?
Great rock & roll is often cinematic, creating worlds that listeners can enter, sonic moments that they can live in. What is most impressive about August and Everything After, the debut album from the Bay area quintet Counting Crows, is how many such moments there are. August reveals a restless, confident band of songwriters who are steeped in the rock tradition yet anxious to extend it. It's easy to hear the group's influences – the Americana-drenched imagery and multi-instrumental explorations of the Band ("Omaha"); the entrancing soulfulness of Van Morrison ("Mr. Jones"); the lonesome Joshua Tree-era U2 ("Ghost Train"); the rootsy rock of John Mellencamp ("Rain King") – but it's much harder to specify the place from which music like this comes. And while the songs are almost always about individuals left wanting and lost, it is equally difficult to pigeonhole the Counting Crows' sound.
On the opener, "Round Here," a Hammond B-3 whispers as an electric guitar plays an ambiguous melody. On top, Adam Duritz sings what amounts to a credo for the entire record: "Step out the front door like a ghost/Into the fog where no one notices/The contrast of white on white/And in between the moon and you/The angels get a better view/Of the crumbling difference between wrong and right." In relating the ensuing tale of disintegration, guilt and regret, he sounds like a bewildered storyteller, vulnerable to forces he cannot understand.
Duritz is a powerfully emotive singer, but he doesn't carry this show alone. The band knows when to take it to the limit and when to fall back and support him with gorgeous three-part harmonies and ringing, instrumental flourishes. Guitarist David Bryson is particularly good. His playing is understated and spare, offering a melodic buffer between the singer and the song. T-Bone Burnett's warm, spacious production also helps, allowing room for the songs to expand without seeming overwrought.
In the 11 songs on August and Everything After, Counting Crows communicate complex (and often desperate) emotions honestly and intelligently without resorting to clichés or cheap sentimentality. That a young band achieves so much on its first album is an event well worth celebrating. ~ THOM JUREK [Source:Rolling Stone 1993]
For U2 see Number 668
For more U2 visit Mellow Mix Vol 1#129 & #038
For John Mellencamp see Number 828

Artist Fact File
Name:Counting Crows...............Related to³:The Himalayans
Yrs Active:1991 to now............Site:www.countingcrows.com
Best Song¹:Mr Jones...............#1fan:www.anna-begins.com
Best Album²:August Everything AfterGrammy Awards:0
Albums Sold:20 Million +..........Next best thing:Augustana
¹Number of downloads WINMX ²Artistdirect choice ³Associated acts or collaborations
Other songs with reference to Counting Crows #688
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (we snubbed them) and the Album ranked at Number (cos we can)
This song has a crowbarred rating of 74.7 out of 108

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8 Comments:

Anonymous tez said...

Boss yanno I love ya right?
You'll never be that good, ain't no way, no how, lol

9:21 pm  
Blogger crowbarred said...

Ha ha ha ..... ya just never know! rock on!!!!!!!!!!!!

9:26 pm  
Blogger Tez said...

Oh I know man, I know, lol
But yeah give us the ROCK!!!!

9:41 pm  
Blogger crowbarred said...

As you can see i am having a hard time finding a blog friendly poll. The rating system from J Kit doesnt work well with the old blogger format now ... UGH

9:45 pm  
Blogger Tez said...

well Bossman find something that works, I didn't like the new pop up window, but that's 'cause I'm a lazy bitch lol

9:49 pm  
Blogger crowbarred said...

me either .... i might have to learn how to do my own .... double ugh

9:55 pm  
Blogger Chris said...

Very nice blog! I guess I could agree with having Counting Crows in there... maybe not 515 out of 1000 of all time though. I just never thought they really brought anything spectacular to the board. Good band, great frontman... but that's kinda just it for me. But hey, that's just my op.
Anyway... rock on dude!!!

11:57 am  
Blogger crowbarred said...

Thanks for the comment! Counting Crows were the only thing that was refreshing in 1993. I think they deserve this spot just for the song alone as recognition. Its a shame they (rolling stone)see this song as polyfilla when it has far more substance than just goo.

1:32 am  

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