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Counting Crows - Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings

2008-04-23 08:21
Counting Crows’ newest collection isn’t that contrived. But it is a brilliant form of apartheid: you’ve got your rockers in one camp (Saturday Nights) and your separately produced ballads and moodier compositions in the other (Sunday Mornings).

For a while, Saturday Nights is a man at the height of his potency. “I am a child of fire, I am a lion, I have desires,” sings Adam Duritz on “Hanging Tree”. That, and the electric “1492” welcome you into a kind of personal ghetto where “skinny girls who drink champagne… take me on their knees again”.

Then you realise that things have turned sour. But the negativity of Saturday Nights is reactionary and primitive, like the “ouch!” of a toddler who reached into the knife tray. It’s not really processed until the second part of the album.
Sunday Mornings is about devotion and deep, deep disappointment. This is how real grief takes root and is worked through, over years and deep glasses of wine.

A lot of artists make a business out of opening themselves up in their songs without ever being really vulnerable. But Duritz’ “On a Tuesday in Amsterdam Long Ago” goes straight for his own jugular. His wails of “Come back to me, come back to me” will break hearts and scare off anyone looking for another “Mister Jones”. Approach it with an open mind.

Does the double take work? Hell yeah. Although the themes of Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings tend to spill over into each other, they are separated by experience, lending Sunday honesty and melody while Saturday is harsher and more exciting.

Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings are separate but equal, and without a doubt belong on the same CD. This is one kind of apartheid you can be a fan of.

- Niel Bekker

How do you make a concept album? The same way you make love to a porcupine: very, very carefully. The danger is that people don’t get it, leading to questions like: “Why is this song twelve minutes long?”, “Why are the songs’ names just numbers?” and “If I play this backwards, will it make more sense?”.


r 2008-04-24 09:39 PM
Brilliant well worth the wait
sandeno 2008-04-27 09:11 PM
rubbish Terrible terrible album, cd can only be used to keep birds out of orchards. Zero points.
galamatias 2008-09-11 05:27 PM
... and everything after The problem with Counting Crows (besides their annoting habit of sounding like a good version of Just Jinger) is there inability to do anything new. Since August and Everything After in 1994 they've been recycling the same bunch of their songs (and in the case of Accidentally In Love, Del Amitri's Roll With It) over and over. There's nothing to dismiss outright here - yes, lot's of cliched lyrics about Los Angeles and being on the road - plenty of sensitive rockstar posturing, but nothing even as sonically interesting as Coldplay's Viva la Vida. On the other hand there's not much to get excited about either. This is pretty background music, folk rock generic, that won't interrupt you and force you to listen. No challenge. Three stars, because it's okay ... and I'm in a good mood.

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