on 5 May 2007
When I bought this on its release it lived in my player. Little has changed. I am still besotted. The strong vocal style and clear image-loaded lyrics are just superb. "Round Here", "Mister Jones", "Sullivan Street" and "Murder of One" are beautiful hurting tracks, although it's impossible to pick a duff number.
The music is rock but with clear deep-south\country cajun\type influences, even if this is an LA band. That accordian for one thing. Not at all out of place in this rock setting, quite the opposite, an intrinsic part of the sound. "Recovering the Satelites" is a great follow up album to it but this debut still has the edge for me. It's a great impressionist painting of urban life, fair weather and foul weather. Aching love songs, aching anything songs. If you've never heard this album you're in for a magical surprise and, if this tips the balance, you owe me one!
on 4 December 2002
Here's where it all began. The band that would change many a life. And you could tell their potential in their debut...
One of the most definitive collections of emo/post grunge rock the early 90s saw. An album which lingers on in the mind (and record players) of many of those who heard it when it was released 9 years ago. Now, any debut album which manages to go multi-platinum is well worth a listen, even if just for curiousity's sake!
The septet (though then only a sextet) truely set the standard for American modern rock and brought the old singer/songwriter magic back which the world hasn't seen the likes of since the 70s.
It combines the beautifully moving songwriting of Adam Duritz with melodious guitars, haunting piano and a flawless rhythm team.
Duritz's songwriting truely deserves a mention here. His songs are honest, emotionally raw and provocatively written in a way which one feels every last emotion and his last grasps of desperation. It is also refreshing to hear a 30-something year old talking about life, loss and loneliness rather than a fresh faced teen. He moves angst to another level. He is a poet, possibly the modern day equivalent of Dylan and Simon.
The musicianship do the songs absolute justice, with guitars which jangle in all the right places, piano with soul and memorable rhythms.
For those who are new to the Crows, "August and Everything After" is a perfect starter kit and an introduction to their music which will leave you gasping for more. For those who have heard other Crows material, this will make it all so much clearer!
Songs to look out for are...the classics Mr Jones and Round Here, the emotionally raw, stunning Anna Begins (songwriting in one of it purest forms) and Rain King.
WARNING: One album, and you'll crave the other 4!
on 13 September 2003
Hard hitting emotional heart ache and joy all at once.
Tells a story about everyday life in a beautifully romantic way, yet in an oddly truthful sense.
Helps any late teenager clear the haze of angst, but can wrap in a dreamworld with pure escapism depending on the mood, just as well if not better than any grunge or emo outfit.
The lyrics are thoughtfully written, with the music being telling its own tale of discovery, whilst delighting the listener with the occassional antidote of anthum status - strange for such a subtle band, but high praise indeed.
Attempts to make most people, especially those around 17 or 18 (like I was - 2001) find the answer to anything and everything, whether its needed or not - and thats no bad thing.
I first came across Counting Crows whilst sat in a mates car when he was giving me a lift into work. After a couple of weeks I found myself humming the tunes and I just had to know who this band was.
"Oh it's Counting Crows" says my friend and that was when I went out and purchased this album.
What can I say abouut the album itself? Well it's laid back folk/rock. It's very laid back.
The music meanders from the start of the track and gently makes it way to the end of it. Adam Duritz has a sublime voice (which you won't find sounding anywhere near as good on any of their other albums in my view) and it makes the gentle music resonate with a beauty.
The first 3 tracks are simply stunning then it has a bit of a lul in the middle and gets back down to the action for the final few tracks.
Unfortunately I feel that Counting Crows reached their pinacle with this Album and all of their other albums I have found to be disappointing - but that is probably more to do with the outstanding quality of all the tracks on this one!
Superb, buy it now 10/10
on 21 January 2004
This is an album i bought on cassette when it first came out and i listened to it so many times the writing wore off the tape - listening to it again recently i remembered why..
It is beautiful, that much is undeniable, but it also evokes a place and a feeling that is hard to describe. It has a hint of late summer about it (the title says it all), it feels like it should be listened to lying on your back on a warm day in an empty field. I can pay it no greater tribute.
It is intense without being over earnest, melodically it is totally accessible thanks to Duritz's beautiful vocals and ear for a tune, but it also will move you and make you analyse the lyrics for each subtle nuance. The obvious tracks remain instantly appealing (Mr Jones, Round Here) but there really is no let up in the quality. If this kind of country tinged rock music is your thing and somehow you have never heard this album, buy it and keep listening to it and i can guarantee it will become your musical best friend.
on 8 February 2002
As far as debut albums go I don't think you will find many better than this. Its a masterpiece with no weak links on it. At the time of its release this album was far from the norm. Its competetion was a rock world mourning the loss of Kurt Cobain. Grunge was everything then. August and Everything After is seemingly different to the style of the music of the time. The tunes are based around a country feel, reminisent of The Band, while everything else was big guitars with lots of distortion. However, lyrically this album has a lot in common with music of the time. The pained voice and lyrics of Adam Duritz are not worlds apart from the message conveyed by Kurt Cobain and co.
Every single track on it has something to offer. On first listen to the album you may not be impressed, I wasn't and nor were many others. But first listenings aren't always the best way to test an album, in fact they very rarely are. The longivity of this album is unparelled by any other that I have come across in modern times. I've been listening to it (on and off) from its day of release and have never tired of it. Not to fall in love with it and its feeling over time is very hard. You could pick any track and really analyse it deeply. There are themes that flow throughout the album, which means that although there are lots of single entities on it they also stand together as on whole.
If you listen to this album a couple of times and begin to like it, buy it. Things only get better on it. It is very near perfection (and the follow up is excellent as well).
on 17 May 2002
It's highly emotional, analytical and deep, if you're into that sort of thing then this is the ultimate album for you. However, if you get bored of songs about love, sadness, despair and hope, then maybe you need something to convert you and I can guarantee this will! Personally, I think it's a work of art; the vocals and guitar backings are out of this world. Fabulous songs on the album which are worth putting on permanent repeat are Anna Begins (the most beautiful song ever written) and Sullivan Street (a real "thinking" song as they all are to be honest). The songs can definitely make almost all females listening to them cry and at least one on the album can relate to your life. If you're in doubt, buy it, you'll take to at least a few of the songs I'm sure and like so many other people will fall in love with the album, the lyrics and the way which it can make you feel good about yourself but sad at the same time, in a strangely reassuring and therapeutic way! Trust me, try it, it's the most amazing and beautiful album ever written.
on 28 July 2004
I bought this album partly on a whim, partly on someone else's recommendation. I've lost faith in plenty of my friends as a consequence of this method, but I'm certainly going to trust this one for some time yet. I'm a big music fan and I own a lot of albums, yet the fact that I can easily pick this one out as amongst my favourites speaks volumes for the quality of the recording.
Given some of the stuff (I hesitate to call it music) that was dominating the charts and coming out of not only America but the UK around this time, 'August and Everything After' stands out for any number of reasons. For a simple start, the band can play their instruments to a high level of competence (guitarists with more than three or four chords, anyone?), with the added bonus that frontman Adam Duritz can actually sing. Not only that, but he has something that can genuinely be described as a vocal range. Combine this with a string of consistently moving and beautiful songs and ninety-nine percent of the time you're going to be on to a winner.
Where Counting Crows came from is hard to say, possibly best described by the band themselves as 'somewhere in middle America' (Omaha). From blues to country to rock, possible influences are numerous. The oft-used accusatory description of 'middle-aged, middle of the road, easy American rock' by UK critics of the time smacked not only of jealousy that this country was struggling to produce any bands or songwriters capable of competing at the same level but of a lack of understanding that in the long term, musical ability counts for a lot more than posture, mouthy quotes and/or attitude.
From start to finish, this album is bursting with quality. From the fast-paced humour of the chart hit 'Mr Jones' to the darkness of 'Anna Begins'; the sad loneliness running through songs like 'Rain King' or 'Raining in Baltimore' and the classic storytelling opener 'Round Here', every song is a gem in its own right, all pulled together by the smooth yet striking production of T-Bone Burnett. The sheer craftsmanship, depth and range of the tracks on this album puts much of the work of its contemporaries (Britpap?) to shame.
It's sad that not only did Counting Crows soon have a spate of less talented clones following in their giant footsteps and tainting their legacy, but that the band themselves have subsequently never quite reached the same dizzying heights with the same level of consistency. Overall, an album well worthy of being described as a 'timeless classic' and without which any collection is sadly lacking.
on 15 April 2004
I bought this album after hearing about Counting Crows from a Canadian friend of mine who had a lot of their songs. As a relatively unknown band in the UK, I had never really considered them to be a BIG THING, more of a fringe band who had the odd good song.
How wrong I was! After getting a hold of a few of their mp3's, which I liked the sound of, I bought this album, and WOW!
Couting Crows deliver quality Altern Rock music combining both easy-listening and funky, lively tunes.
The music has a distinctive "country" feel to it, without you picturing them as a group of straw-chewing cowboys.
It portrays brilliant rock, without the typical and often boring hardcore beats and mindless strumming we see so much now.
At first I expected the album to have a couple of good songs, but a majority of "space-fillers" to make up the numbers, but no!
As a natural critic, I listened to each song meticulously, trying to find faults. None!
With other similar bands (Hootie and Dave Matthews to name two), there are the couple of obvious favourites, but then from number 5, the music starts to go downhill, and you know that the band ran out of ideas.
But with Counting Crows, there are no bad songs! This album simply doesnt get boring. Admittedly, there are the few obvious better songs, such as Omaha, Mr Jones, Perfect Blue Buildings and the superb Rain King, but the album doesnt end where these leave off. There's more quality!
This is the same with other albums from the Crows. With their inspired lyrics and vocals, they are now one of, if not the most influencial Altern Rock band still making music today.
I cant recommend this album enough. Music does not come better.
This album only has 5 stars, because the 6 option wasn't there.
on 23 July 2013
This album contains a little rock, country, pop, blues etc. The songs are multi layered and every listen shows something another layer (It's like an onion - Shrek).
The singing is soulful, the music is beautiful, the lyrics are incredible and here's some examples
>Perfect Blue Buildings - "Well, I got bones beneath my skin, and mister, There's a skeleton in every man's house.
Beneath the dust, and love, and sweat that hang on everybody, There's a dead man tryin' to get out."
>Round Here - "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.
>Anna Begins - "It seems like I should say, "As long as this is love..." But it's not all that easy, so maybe I should. Snap her up in a butterfly net and pin her down on a photograph album. I am not worried cuz I've done this sort of thing before."
The lyrics are amazing. The instant classics are Round Here, Mr. Jones, Rain King but every song on here should be on everybody's Ipods.