Monday, September 14, 2009

August and Everything After, Rank #1

August and Everything After is the first album released by the California rock band Counting Crows. Released in 1993, the album runs for almost 52 minutes across 11 tracks. The band features Adam Duritz as lead vocals, piano, and harmonica playing, with the rest of the band (Matt Malley, Charlie Gillingham, Steve Bowman, and David Bryson) completing and filling the group. While taking notes for my ipod journey, this album had only one word to describe it: perfect.
The first time I heard this complete album I was in tenth grade. Sure, I knew the main single released off the cd, "Mr. Jones," but that was it. I was a Teachers Aide for one of my art classes, and I had a break where I sat in the teacher's office and played Minesweeper. The teacher had a stack of cds, and I decided to pop one into the computer and give it a listen. I chose August...

I sat there, entranced, amazed at what I was hearing. From the opening arpeggio chords of "Round Here" to the last hammered sounds of "A Murder of One," I was enthralled. Every day I had free time I would go back to the room and listen to that album, picking up something different, something previously unheard. I was hypnotized, and my ears were in love.

Soon I bought the album for myself, and I quickly fell in love with the Counting Crows, gobbling up all their other albums that were released at the time. But there was something special, something secret about August and Everything After. Somehow something in the beautiful singing, wonderful harmonies, captivating rhythms, and compelling lyrics was connecting with me. I could feel the emotions Duritz was singing about. I could understand a bit of what life was like for him through his songs.

So I suppose the first reason August and Everything After ranks as No. 1 on my list is due to the fact that it helped connect me to the soul of what music is all about: emotion.

In addition to the sentimental, special memories I have for this wonderful album, it has more to offer up. The songwriting is beautiful. I always had this fantasy in school that a teacher would ask us to bring in our favorite poem, and I would print the lyrics to "Round Here" and bring in those for mine. This never happened, but it was fun in my own mind.

The main song from this album has to be "Mr. Jones." (Warning, the video is a little silly, but I didn't rank videos, just songs.) Most likely you've heard this song on the radio. You've probably tapped your feet to its wonderful beat. You may have even sang along with it. Whatever the case is, this song launched the Counting Crows into stardom. Every time this song comes on I love it again, and I'm never disappointed to hear it.

Every song on this album is a perfect joy to listen to. The way the band comes together is rich and full. The album has an overall feel of sadness and mistakes, but many of these songs come across as anything but tragedy through the brilliance of the Crows.

I can't explain to you truly how wonderful this August and Everything After is. The best thing to do would be to buy an old, used copy from a local used store, or go to a flea market and pick one up for a few bucks. I've came across used copies many times, and they're always pretty cheap. Take the risk. Listen to it through and fall in love the way I did.


David Wagner said...

How on earth could I pass up an album so highly recommended? I'll grab it off iTunes today.

You should call your blog "Recommendorandum" today...

logankstewart said...

I'm not sure what the iTunes price is, now that they've changed their system. I think you can probably buy an .mp3 cd from Amazon for cheaper than iTunes now.

If you think this was a recommendation, just wait until I get to Joe Purdy.

Nice title you've offered up, too, by the way. I like it.

Krista said...

Great post a new CD I'll have to look into!