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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reaching backwards for the first time
Counting Crows reputation as an unadventurous, middle of the road rock band belies a track record of subtle reinvention for those who wish to hear it. Over the course of four previous albums they've gone from purveyors of coffee table americana, to a grunge band, to spacey, indie rockers, to something approaching pure pop. To their credit, album five is the first time...
Published on 10 April 2009 by J. Jenkins

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not feeling it....
For starters, I think Counting Crows are one of the most underated bands of the last fifteen years. Their first two albums- 'August and everything after' and 'Recovering the Satellites'- are masterpieces. The sheer excellence of these first two records has made every following CC release struggle to live up to expectations. 'This Desert Life'(1999) and 'Hard Candy' (2002)...
Published on 29 Mar 2008 by JDO


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not feeling it...., 29 Mar 2008
For starters, I think Counting Crows are one of the most underated bands of the last fifteen years. Their first two albums- 'August and everything after' and 'Recovering the Satellites'- are masterpieces. The sheer excellence of these first two records has made every following CC release struggle to live up to expectations. 'This Desert Life'(1999) and 'Hard Candy' (2002) are both great records. It's just that they are not as great as the first two.

So, 'Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings' has a lot to live up to. This is especially the case given that it is their first new album in almost six years. Things start well with '1492' and 'Hanging Tree' both of which are from the rockier end of the CC spectrum. However, by the time you get to 'Los Angeles' a nagging thought starts to rear its ugly head- the Counting Crows have done all of this before. As Duritz sings the chorus of "If you see that movie star and me" you start to get the feeling you have heard it all before. Things pick up again however with the rather excellent 'Cowboys' before the second, quieter half of the album gets going...

... and that's where the feelings of deja vu starts to come in spades. At times it almost seems as though Duritz is just going through the motions. He is trying to sound forlorn for the sake of sounding forlorn. The passion and real heart wrenching angst, so prevalent on their first four albums, seems to have gone a bit stale. When Adam sings "Come back to me" on 'On a Tuesday in Amsterdam Long Ago' you cant help but feel it is an inferior re-write of the rather amazing 'Raining in Baltimore' from their debut record. It just sounds like he is going through the motions and not really feeling it.

The second half of the album does have its good tracks though, especially 'When I Dream of Michaelangelo' and 'Come Around', the latter of which is a very fitting end to the record. The problem with the second half of this album is just that it sags a little. Songs such as 'On Almost Any Sunday Morning' and especially 'Le Ballet D'Or' feel unnecessary and add little to the overall album apart from making it longer. Also, the sub-Beatles harmonies at the end of 'Anyone But You' don't really work either and go on for too long blunting the impact of an otherwise good track.

All in all 'Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings' is patchy. I have never said that about a CC release before and hope I will never have to say it about any future records they release. However, this album is sadly a little bit disapointing. It has some great tracks (1492, Hanging Tree, Cowboys, When I Dream of Michaelangelo and Come Around). A number of good, solid tracks (Insignificant, Washington Square and You Can't Count on Me) and then the rest of the record just sounds a bit lazy and over familiar. Maybe this would have been a stronger ten track record with the bulk of the songs from the first half with a couple of the '... Sunday Mornings' half thrown in. Who knows, but viewed as a whole it doesn't really work. Time for Counting Crows to re-think things a little.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 29 Mar 2008
By 
Don't listen to the hype. For such a great band expectations are very high but regrettably this album is at best mediocre. I'm sad to say it but this is one of their least accomplished albums- where are the hooks and gemlike songcraft of yesteryear? It's not that the album is bad, it's just that it's simply unremarkable. I think the real acid test is to ask yourself- would any of these tracks get on to your personal 'Best of Counting Crows' playlist? I'm not sure I would add any to my favourites.

[My favourite CC tracks in no particular order: Round Here, Mrs Potter's Lullaby, Butterfly in Reverse, Amy Hit The Atmosphere, Miami, Omaha, A Long December, Hangin' Around, American Girls, Mr. Jones, Hard Candy, Rain King, Holiday In Spain, Raining In Baltimore, All My Friends, Black And Blue, A Murder Of One, Why Should You Come When I Call?]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reaching backwards for the first time, 10 April 2009
By 
J. Jenkins (Dudley Port, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Counting Crows reputation as an unadventurous, middle of the road rock band belies a track record of subtle reinvention for those who wish to hear it. Over the course of four previous albums they've gone from purveyors of coffee table americana, to a grunge band, to spacey, indie rockers, to something approaching pure pop. To their credit, album five is the first time they've really repeated themselves.

Over the course of what frontman Adam Duritz says is 'really two albums' they essentially try to repeat two of their past glories; Recovering the Satellites on side one's Gil Norton produced 'rock' half, August and Everything After and side two's mournful ballad collection. You can see why they've done it - 'Satellites' is probably their best album and 'August...' their best loved. But there's something ever so slightly contrived about it; the fact that they've only managed to come up with 6 'rock' numbers on a 14-15 track album (one of which could just as easily fit on the Sunday Mornings section) suggests they came up with the concept before actually sitting down to write any songs.

This is more a criticism of sequencing than anything else. From the epic, widescreen Cowboys, to the world weary travelogue of Washington Square and across the album, these are mostly excellent songs. On A Tuesday in Amsterdam Long Ago is probably the rawest distillation of romantic longing Duritz has yet put his name to.

In fact, Duritz's angst can get a little alienating at times here. On songs like LA he's basically bemoaning the continual imposition of having to date a string of actresses, models and the entire cast of Friends. Ironically, he's at his most likeable when he portrays himself as a jerk; songs like the caustic You Can't Count on Me are potent because he is so willing to paint himself in an unflattering light. And yet he still gets the girls. Is it the hairstyle?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They've finally Come Around, 26 Mar 2008
By 
J. E. Daniel "john2747" (england) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Its' been 5 years since they last released a record, (2003's Hard Candy) since then they have released a greatest Hits, a live CD & a reissue of their debut "August & Everything After"
Fans were wondering whether singer/songwriter Duritz still had it in his locker to bring out a new record after years of struggling to cope with fame.
Anyway the band are back & back to form too!
Their album is entitled "Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings"
Saturday Nights being the descending into the darkness, losing a battle that can't be won. With it's electrifying riffs & it's raging angst, it's unfortunate it only features 6 songs.
The second part of the record "Sunday Mornings" is the day after, the events that require turning round, the heartache of incorrect decisions.
The album transcends through Duritz's use of creating poetic lyrics with pop overtones that really drive the record home.
Despite Sunday Mornings having an extra 2 tracks, it's Saturday Nights that steals the show.
Tracks such as "Hangin Tree" with it's Nirvana - esque guitar riffs & "Los Angeles (Which sounds a lot like Ryan Adam's Rescue Blues) explode out of our stereos & therefore engages us into the thrilling frantic pace that's set.
Sunday Mornings feels rather bleak compared to Saturday Nights, but it offers us a chance to explore through Duritz's imagery, in which his narratives & the bands gentle use of strings & piano led pop contrast the record & gives it that ultimate divide.
The first single "You Can't Count On Me" is an uplifting tale of memories, "When I Dream Of Michelangelo" is about seeing the world through the Sistine Chapel & the final track (Not the bonus) "Come Around" is an infectious piece of rousing pop which ranks among their finest songs.

Despite all these positive points, it can't be helped thinking that in ways the record was also a missed opportunity.
The track "On A Tuesday In Amsterdam Long Ago" is a beautiful tale of the past which contrasts the love & hurt the story resembles. But unfortunately the music doesn't reflect the lyrics & we just get Duritz on a piano, which is all well and good when it's either "A Long December" Or "Raining In Baltimore" but this misses the mark completely.Perhaps if it was presented in a similar sort of style of say "Hard Candy" which it shares various themes with, it may have been a hit.
Another minor disappointment is the track "Cowboys" Duritz claims this is perhaps his finest written song & although it sounds great on the surface the words are clumsy & it's hard to interact with the narrative when the picture he paint's is unclear.

But Overall it's a joy to have the Crows back , they've finally Come Around!

Play these:
Hangin Tree
Los Angeles
Sundays
When I Dream Of Michelangelo
You Can't Count On Me
Come Around

Skip These:
Le Ballet D'or
On A Tuesday In Amsterdam
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4.0 out of 5 stars Don't be harsh, 21 Dec 2008
After hearing all the negative comments about the album I was a bit worried about how much I was going to like it or not and that coloured me the first time I heard it. But after a few plays I did really enjoy the CD. Now, obviously there is some accounting for different tastes between listeners and fair enough, but I wish everyone would stop always going on about the former albums and judge the new one on its own merits. I personally discovered the crows throught the album hard candy, and i have to say that it is probably still my favourite, though i am a huge fan of the rest, especially recovering the satellites, which i think gives the best mix of music. But i am not about to compare the two albums to the point that I judge every new release on the strength of the others.

This is a good album, for me especially the tracks Cowboys, Washington Square(actually adore this track) and Hanging Tree. It is an interesting concept on an album too, though in many ways, and though I half expect Duritz to go even more full on in the Saturday Nights half, i think it works. I have been a fan for years a good while and I really do hope that it isn't another 6 years before the next album, because despite lots of line up changes recently I still enjoy their music a lot. Keep going, keep writing and keep developing! And they really are one of the most undervalued bands of the last decade or so. And I am so glad they decided to release Baby I'm A Big STar Now - keep going with some of the old bootlegs cause they are great!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent return, 3 April 2008
This albums is full of highs and lows, 'cowboys' has all the makings of a crows classic, while 'los angeles' and 'you can't count on me' are personal favourites and rank very high in terms of all-time favourite counting crows songs, however for me the album does have a few dodgy tracks that need to be skipped which is a shame and somewhat taints this much anticipated release. Although these tracks are a shame there are mant decents tracks on this album and it is a definite must own for any CC fan and even casual CC listener, 8 out of 10.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing... REALLY!, 17 Oct 2010
By 
Nanni Sergio Vittorio (Milan, Italy) - See all my reviews
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I'm sorry to say this but "Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings" is the worst record Counting Crows have ever made. The first two are MASTERPIECES (especially the 2nd "Recovering The Satellites") but this one is boring... a few good tunes pop up here and there but as a record it's not very consistent. As much as I love CC first four releases (and the "Across The Wire" live album) I wouldn't recommend it even to fans. Better listen to your old Crows records!
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2.0 out of 5 stars 6 YRS!, 9 Oct 2008
By 
King of pain (Hereford, England) - See all my reviews
It pains me to say it, but after much time spent genuinely trying to like this album and find some quality in it I have to say its dissapointing.It's not terrible by any stretch but its just bland. Like so many have stated before me it just fails to live up to previous works, I mean it really dosen't sit with the others at all. It feels like a tired re-working of previous efforts and themes. Maybe 'Live' some of these tracks may jump out, but I feel doubtful when you know the likes of Mr.Jones, Round Here, Long December, Mrs. Potters Lullaby are coming. The Crows are and probably will always be one of my favourite bands and I know the depths this band can take you to, but I guess Im growing up a little at 30! but I don't know if this band is growing with me. It took six yrs for this! don't leave it so long guys! Good songs for me, Hanging Tree, Cowboys (goes on far to long though) and Anyone but you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding but give it time to mellow in your mind, 12 Aug 2008
as a CC fan, big time, I was more than glad to get hold of this. First listen said, this stuff is strange, there is a discordant note running through it, deliberate discord, which is -not quite offputting but uncomfortable in a way. Then the second and third listens and you realise it is what Adam Duritz was aiming at, the album is not intended to sit easy in the mind, hence the discordant piano here and there and the strange repeated lyrics. Overall I found it a good mix, a good balance, I found the same lonely/needing/heartache/misunderstood lyrics along with some good fast rocking numbers which made the drive to work, when all music is listened to, within the confines of the car, very loud, a real treat. It is worth persevering with this album, it will become a CC classic, given time and a few plays. Don't dismiss it on first hearing, whatever you do. It has a lot to offer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More of the same-HOORAY!!!!, 28 April 2008
By 
P. Jones "Philly" (Leeds, West Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've been a Counting Crows fan since I first saw a video on MTV, from the bath of a New York hotel in 1997 and played Recovering the Satellites, non-stop, on my car CD and in the office for the next 6 weeks.

I've got all the albums, live and studio and have seen them live multiple times.

Saturday Nights & Sunday Morning is a great piece of work, old and familiar but new. Old and familiar as in Adam's story telling and real-life lyrics, the jangling and soaring guitar and the plaintive and evocative piano. New as in new songs and ideas. I loved it from the first time I played it, I actually bought 3 new CDs from Amazon at the same time, but the other 2 haven't had a look-in yet. This is playing on my iPod, car and computer.

If you haven't heard The Crows before: BUY IT!! as a representative shopwindow of their stuff.

If you know The Crows:BUY IT!! you'll love it
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