Four albums into their career Adam Duritz sounds like he may have regained his touch. The Counting Crows’s past two albums, Hard Candy and This Desert Life left a lot to be desired. They had some great songs to be sure, but for whatever reason they just didn’t have the same oomph that the Crows’s first two albums had.
That being said, their fifth studio comes out March 25 on Geffen/Interscope. Titled Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings, the album will be conceptually broken up into two sections. The first, a hard rocking affair to remind us of the boozy, ambling nights and then the second half will remind us of the delicate and painful morning after. Kind of a cool concept and it’s also been done before by other bands, though the Counting Crows past efforts have proven they can do both.
Producer Gil Norton (The Pixies/Foo Fighters) handled production for the first half of the album and Brian Deck (Iron & Wine) oversaw the production of the laid-back acoustic tunes comprising the second part of the album.
What I like about the band (beside Adam Duritz laying claim to bagging two of the stars of Friends in their prime), is that even when Duritz’s lyrics border on silliness or solipsism, there is a solid craftsmanship to each song’s structure and how each instrument is layered without stepping on another one. They may not be breaking new ground or paying homage to the past but let’s credit them for making music that is immensely listenable.
In the case of the two new songs made available I much prefer “When I Dream of Michelangelo” to the cumbersome “1492.” Love the banjo even if I’m curious as to why Adam Duritz loves painters so much.
I’ll leave it to you to figure out which song is from which half of the album.