What’s the first song you ever loved? If we’re being really honest, the answer for most of us is probably something like “Happy Birthday,” or “Jingle Bells,” or a lullaby our parents sang us when we were young. Maybe it’s something we heard in our favorite childhood TV show or Disney movie, or a nursery rhyme song, or some silly novelty ditty we learned from the other kids at daycare. Me, though? I can’t really remember ever caring about music in any fashion until I heard “Mr. Jones.”
Counting Crows are the closest I can come to saying I’ve loved a band for my entire life. Their debut album, 1993’s August & Everything After, came out 30 years ago today, a few months before my third birthday. At some point, a copy of it came into my family’s possession – and more importantly, into our Ford Expedition. In the backseat, headed home from some family day trip, I watched as my brother slid the album into the CD player and skipped to track 3.
In retrospect, “Mr. Jones” doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that would appeal to a young child’s brain. It’s verbose and meandering and takes forever to get to the chorus. Adam Duritz sings a lot of words that didn’t register any meaning to me at the time: things like “New Amsterdam” and “flamenco dancer” and “Bob Dylan.” And boy, I remember being baffled – truly baffled – by this man’s claim that grey was his favorite color. Surely, he was a liar, or maybe even crazy.
But for as bewildering and strange as I found “Mr. Jones” to be, when the song finally wound around to the hook, it enraptured me. “Mr. Jones and me/Tell each other fairytales/And we stare at the beautiful women/She’s looking at you/Oh, no no, she’s looking at me.” The melody was warm and golden and welcoming, and I fell in love with it right away. Soon, every time I was in that car, I wanted nothing more than to get the CD with the yellow cover out of the center console, skip to track 3, and take that ride again.Read More “Counting Crows – August & Everything After”