Monday, November 08, 2004

32 Songs - Track 12

Round Here - Counting Crows

"Step out the front door
like a ghost into the fog
where no one notices the contrast
of white on white"


Music is something we share. We take it in then pass it on.

When I picked up a copy of Counting Crows’ first album, August and Everything After, I think I played the first track Round Here several times before I got to the second. The opening lines, which are listed above, are almost Walt Whitman-ish and the lyrics continue to be a poetic combination of contradiction and allegory while telling the story of someone who feels that they are falling through the cracks. The whole song is full of lines I just love.

While I can wax lyrically about the words for ages I should also mention the music itself. The song starts with a single, simple guitar then the lyrics commence and the whole song continues to build. Just when it seems to have fallen into a pattern it gets broken up before settling down again and finishing off with Adam Duritz’s voice.

But neither lyrics, nor music are why this song makes the list. It does so because my interest in the Counting Crows rubbed off onto my sister Choni. I remember sending her a copy of the CD on tape when I had moved out of home. I wrote a letter to her telling her to listen to it at night with the lights off. 10 years later I don’t think a week goes by when she doesn’t play the album. Giving her the Counting Crows was the most big-brotherly thing I have ever done for her.

And let's face it, when it comes to music the thing that we get the most joy out of isn't listening to it in a dark room and destructuring the chords and lyrics. It is playing it to someone else. Which is why i wanted to do this whole list in the first place. (And i could go on and on about sharing music right now but i think i will leave it to slowly unfold over the next twenty tracks)

Our appreciation of Counting Crows eventually, and inevitably, rubbed off on Mella, the third Wilkins sibling. I gave up on the Counting Crows after their third album This Desert Life. It has a fantastic Dave McKean cover and my favourite Counting Crows song Colorblind, a short, simple song that explains confusion and indecision to a tee. However, after This Desert Life they went on to record a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” which was the bullet to the head for the band as far as I was concerned. Yes I am a brutal critic and my love is fickle …….but I am often right.


(Update: A quick check on the band’s website tells me they are now pimping themselves with a schmaltzy piece of crap they recorded for the Shrek 2 soundtrack. See I told you I was right!)

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