on 25 November 2003
After hearing 'Colourblind' on the Cruel Intentions sound track, it was a mad dash to find out who sung this fantastic song. I would have to say when I found out who it was I was surprised. I had bought Hard Candy first and so I was already a fan but this song was so uncharacteristic of the crows. It was soooo good I could hardly believe it. I went straight to the shops and bought This Desert Life. And I have to say after a few listenings I was hooked. Its a CD you can listen to in any mood. Mrs Potters Lullaby was so upbeat, followed by Amy Hit The Atmosphere, a mellow, calming song with a good bass beat. The album is beautifuly arranged, every song is exactly where it should be, listening to it you can understand where this music is coming from. You don't need to know the names of the tracks to understand them, I still don't know what half of them are called. The name isn't the point, for so many artists the name explains the song - here, it makes no difference. It's not hard to know what mood and feeling is being portrayed. I personally think this is one of their best albums to date, one of the top two. Hard Candy was less impressive but still a good album. Buy this album, you can't help but love it! It desrves more than five stars.
on 3 February 2000
On the live CD "Across the wire" Adam Duritz says that they "now know how to play their songs" Well he sure is right.Having got this album at Xmas I decided to let it sink in before writing a review.Too many reviews are written after only one or two plays,but the crows deserve better.This is a superb album and can hold its own with any of their previous work,yes even August.From the rocking opener "Hanginaround" to the beautifull and haunting "Colorblind" they play with a clarity and togetherness that only great bands can do.Duritz's vocals are,as ever,wonderful and his songwriting gets better and better.Are their many singers who can put so much angst into their singing? The other highlight other than the two already mentioned is "I wish I was a girl" absolutely brilliant.It would be unfair to ignore the other tracks so buy the album and give yourself a treat,and if you are new to the band buy all their other albums too. By the way if you are thinking that they are just for trendies think again....I am a 43 year old grandaD!
on 29 August 2004
I got into Counting Crows after hearing the beautiful 'Colourblind' on Cruel Intentions. At first, I thought they were REM, because Adam Duritz's voice resembles that of Michael Stipe in my opinion. But after discovering a band named Counting Crows, I chose to buy this album.
Sophisticated, soulful, cheerful, heart-tugging, beautiful and classic are just some of the words I would use to describe this album. This is truly a masterpiece of an album, and every part of it seems to have hidden connotations, all the way to the pictures in the sleevenotes.
I am an aspiring songwriter, and believe me, if I could ever write songs as beautiful as those featured on 'This Desert Life', I will die a happy person. The songs on this album seem relevant to any feelings, be they happy or heartbroken, and it seems to be a type of music which the majority of people accept, making it a great album to listen to with your friends. The songs are beautifully written and the idea of so many instruments playing the song at the same time is a beautiful thought. This truly is a spectacular album, and I would recommend it as the first Counting Crows album you should buy.
I recommend counting crows to fans of REM, Tracy Chapman, Radiohead, Muse, Damien Rice, basically just mellow rock. Enjoy!
on 13 September 2003
Counting Crows are phenomenal. They amount of talent in this band that never seems to be recognised by a wider audience is criminally good. Adam Duritz's lyrics are while very thought provoking, brightly innocent, and just unlike anything else currently on Earth. They are currently the greatest band in the world. That's just my opinion, that's all it is. Other people may differ with me, but here is why they are the greatest band currently raining on the planet...
They've always been a very good band just for different reasons, and up until the release of their latest album 'Hard Candy', 'This Desert Life' was their most varied and imaginative album. 'August And Everything After' is incredibly simplistic in comparison to some of their later releases, but that's not a bad thing. The sheer simplicity, combined with their slightly discordant, and angst that is like nothing else, made it one of the best mainly acoustic albums of all time. But through their graduation through the years, through a much more rockier, but just as angsty effort in, 'Recovering The Satellites', they always retained that pleasant innocence, and an astounding amount of simplicity. And it is still retained on, 'This Desert Life'...
Although not their ''heaviest'' song, if you can actually call anything the Crows do as heavy, 'Hangin' Around' is their finest up-beat song up to the date of release, with some terrific guitar stomping following the band clapping to open and Duritz's vocals in their most catchy chorus the Crows ever did. Many people have heard 'Mrs. Potter's Lullaby' and compared it to their breakthrough single, 'Mr Jones', and while this is a fair analysis, 'Mr Jones' always packed a bit more of a punch, and provided an almost icy atmosphere, whereas 'Mrs. Potter's...' is a fair bit more upbeat, which seems to be the direction the Crows appear to be heading.
Of course, this is a Counting Crows record, there's going to be some terrific piano and acoustic ballads full of angst and 'shoe-gazing' qualities. 'Amy Hits The Atmosphere', 'Speedway' and album standout, 'Colorblind', provide that much needed hit of piano and guitar based angst that all the fans love them for. It'd be so easy to say that it's what they do best, but it's not, because the Counting Crows are so diverse, that they just seem to sound invincible through everything they do.
'All My Friends' provides a fine up-and-down feeling with a fine violin section during the chorus, again showing the Crows power with their instruments. It's also notable at this point that Counting Crows have often been criticised by critics and the public alike for being mere throw-backs. 'This Desert Life' and then most recently, 'Hard Candy' have shown a fine example of the Crows originality that is not often seen on the surface. 'I Wish I Was A Girl' is a fine pop-rock song, that only Counting Crows could do and pull off so perfectly, and still manage to add nice little touches and retro guitars, that compared with the rest of the album, shows their diversity and originality, but will unfortunately never really prove the critics wrong.
The rest of the tracks are just pure Counting Crows' own classic style with new ideas and out-of-this-world lyrics and pure pompous moments that are just as important as the standouts in the process of making another fine album that only they could make.
If you're in the same position as the Crows, then it would be just easier to go along with the saying 'if it isn't broken, don't fix it'. Well if you said that you wouldn't be the Counting Crows. They seem to be always striving to improve themselves and increase the quality of their music, and at this point, they have never once disappointed. This is why Counting Crows are the greatest band in the world today. It's just my opinion. And the Crows have always been about opinion.
on 26 November 2000
I must admit that when I first heard this album it was not what I was expecting. Having bought all of the other albums previously, this one seemed to be affected by the "softer" rock which dances round the charts. I had expected more heart-tugging, slightly depressing lyrics sung in a way which only Adam Duritz can. But hey, I didn't say I was disappointed!
This Desest Life, while it contains enough soulful tunes to keep me happy, reveals a side to the band which was lacking in Recovering the Satellites. (Don't get me wrong - classic album)A side which makes the music really come alive, such as in the brilliant Mrs Potters Lullaby, reminders of Mr Jones, Rain King and A Murder of One from August and Everything After.
The sublime Colourblind while it is not my favorite song stands out in the album, just like Raining in Balitmore from the first album did, and Round Here from Across a Wire. And I have to say congratulations to the band as it is the longest song I have ever heard played in a movie, (Cruel Intentions).
So This Desert Life is fantastic, but to me it does not eclipse the success of the previous albums. August and Everything After was amazing, Recovering the Satellites about equal with it, and the live albums showed the musical quality behind the band.
However in saying all that, the best way to hear Counting Crows is to go to a concert. They are simply awesome. And what is more important to me they are able to do what all classic bands do; and that is reinvent themselves, bringing new influences to their music but retaining their soul throughout.
So sure listen to the clips, buy the album and listen to the music, but you can't say you heard Counting Crows until you have seen them live!
on 27 October 2002
Being a diehard Counting Crows fan, I was suprised when I picked up this record in October of 1999. It was different. It is much more up-beat, sort of. . .
The theme of the record doesn't change much from its predecessors. The idea of where and who you are. . As always, details, names, and places are used in abundance.
So many bands try to do what comes to Counting Crows naturally, they make art. Only the very best bands can take you beyond hearing music . . The best make you feel music. This concept is not lost on "This Desert Life." The major idea seems to be moving on with life, trying to figure out how to go about doing that. "All My Friends," "Speedway," and "Amy Hit the Atmosphere" are all great songs about being in a place that you have to leave. "Saint Robinson and His Cadilac Dream," "I Wish I Was a Girl," and "Colorblind" are some of the highlights, but the whole album is superb.
on 23 November 1999
After waiting what seemed like an eternity for some new material from the crows.....It seems the break did Adam some good....This album is great....did i say Great.....I mean GREAT! from the beautifully hypnotic 'Color Blind' and delightful 'Amy hit the atmosphere' to the fun of 'Hanging Around', 'St. Robinson and his Cadillac dream'. I'm not saying that these songs aren't melancholic but they are produced and mixed with such perfection that you can't help but love them. Simple melodies, simple riffs & intense lyrics make up what I believe is a classic album. A return to the class and finesse of the first album "August and everything after" and with the more addictive qualities of the best songs from "Recovering the satellites" mixed together to make this band more approachable to the virgin ear and yet still maintaining the quality and form as before. Adam must have found some kind of joy in his life after dating countless models and members of the cast of friends he is still proving how lonely the human soul truly can be! Bravo gentlemen see you when you tour next. oh and by the way check out the bonus track...Excellent.
on 1 May 2001
Despite lacking much of the raw emotion which infused "August & Everything After", this album will please both the Crow's loyal fan base, and those who like it just because Colorblind was on 'Dawson's Creek'. Duritz's distinctive, mournful voice has a slightly more upbeat tone with such tracks as "Kid Things" exploring happier times. The rest of the band are in fine form, with bassist Matt Malley providing beautifully complex riffs on "Hanginaround". Although lacking some of the teen angst of previous albums, This Desert Life is proof that the band are continuing to expand their musical capabilities. The snippets of dialogue and tune-ups included between tracks give the album a pleasant rough-cut, unpolished feel - leading the listener to imagine that he/she is in that casino, watching Counting Crows at work. This is an excellent album, worthy of any fan's praise but with enough to keep the uninitiated listener entertained. I have shied away from giving it 5 stars, purely because it lacks some of the power of the band's previous work.
on 16 January 2000
I only started really getting into the Counting Crows last year, and it was worth the discovery, I bought thier last three excellent albums, and thought that they were great! I am extremely addicted to them. Adam might sound a bit wierd at first, but once you get into it, his voice is perfect! "This Desert life" is an album that you have to get used to, but once you're into it, you've found that you bought one of the best albums that you've ever heard! All the tracks have got really excellent lyrics and have a real meaning to them. And the production is excelltent. The music is not too depressing but Colorblind makes my friend cry out loud! I know that the band put tons of work into this album and it shows, Adam Druitz's style has really matured and is a better song writer than ever. I don't understand why people do not like this band they are really top class, and it's better than most of the junk which is out now! I suggest that you buy it now!!! P.S. I reckon that the Bass player is really good.
on 16 November 1999
On first listen this album seems very ordinary and in relation to there other albums a bit disappointing. But stick with it and you get to engage in what is one of the most exciting and interesting albums of the year. This first take hanging around has an transendant quality, with a sound which resembles some of Bob Dylans work (notably Blond on Blond). The third track grows into a classic with huge ending. Other track of note numbers 6 and 7 (colourblind which featured in a film over the summer) remind you of where the counting crows have come from. Some reviews have unfairly said that the counting crows are a one man band but that it not to understand the clever weaving on textures that a band that has worked together for years can achieve. It is worth investing the time and enaging in one of the most exciting, undiscover bands for yourself.