Review: Counting Crows – August & Everything After

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.

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‘Kid A’ 20 Years Later: Why Radiohead’s Masterpiece Still Matters

Radiohead, Kid A

20 years ago, Radiohead released an album that encapsulated an experimental fusion of cacophonous jazz (“The National Anthem”), ambient music (“Treefingers”), “traditional” rock moments (“Optimistic”), and electronic music (the rest). Kid A was unveiled during a moment in time that demanded heated discussion, introspection, and patience. With patience comes great reward: to understand the album the way it was intended opens up a whole new world. The record also immediately cast a behemoth-sized shadow over what Radiohead had done before (yep, even OK Computer) and what would come after (In Rainbows, too). 

Singer Thom Yorke found himself exhausted with burnout following a lengthy tour of OK Computer. He began to despise everything about “rock music” as we knew it – guitars, the glamorization of drug and alcohol addiction – and his vision of what “rock” music could be would inadvertently change the music industry and online music culture for decades to come. For many Gen X-ers, Kid A was one of the earliest albums experienced online. Pre-streaming era, over 1,000 websites posted Kid A and it was streamed over 400,000 times, three weeks before the album’s release. There was no promotion – no music videos, the band declined to do interviews – but that didn’t stop incessant arguments on whether the album was Radiohead’s magnum opus or hot garbage, nor did it stop the reviews coming.

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Do You Get Déjà Vu Listening To Olivia Rodrigo?


When we last premiered a feature on Taylor Swift comparing both versions of Fearless, I was intrigued by the idea of working with my fellow contributors on a similar collaborative piece. Our next group topic takes a look at Olivia Rodrigo’s ultra-popular SOUR album. I asked Mary Varvaris and Zac Djamoos to join me in discussing key comparisons in Rodrigo’s sound to other modern artists, what worked well on the album, as well any missteps or areas for improvement in the young artist’s sound.

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Review: Safari Room – “Broken Things”

On the latest single from Safari Room, called “Broken Things,” he tackles the difficult theme of navigating through a relationship on the brink of collapse. Songwriter Alec Koukol shared, “Quite plainly, ‘Broken Things’ is about the declination of a relationship. The song is an amalgamation of relationships I’ve had crumble over the last few years. This song is a catharsis and outburst of emotions kept in for too long. It’s a whole journey of self-discovery through loss of a relationship, confined in one tune.” The song is brimming with vibrant guitar riffs, soothing vocals, all paired with vivid storytelling from Koukol. The sound of Safari Room is similar to the style of The National, The War on Drugs, and Mae.

The song opens with the verse of “This is the end, no longer lovers/ “Maybe we can be friends” / What a lie / Emphatically sad ‘cause the good has been undone” as Koukol paints the picture of a once fruitful relationship turning sour. The song gradually picks up tempo and features a great bass line before building to the crescendo of, “You’re out of my mind /You’re out of my mind (Get out of my mind) / You’re out of my mind / Get out of my mind /You’re out of my mind (Get out of my mind) / You’re out of mind / You don’t live here anymore (You don’t live there anymore),” that provides a glimpse of the conflict going on within the songwriter’s headspace. Safari Room have reignited the flame of purpose on this electric single that is hauntingly beautiful.