“Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings”
Sounds like: A CD with major bipolar mood swings
Counting Crows’ latest album, “Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings,” is a tribute to the art of creating albums that tell a story. Their attempt translates into a disc very clearly divided. The first half displays a forceful, untamed sound of electric guitars and singer Adam Duritz’s wild vocals, while the second part relaxes and takes a more acoustic - though certainly not unplugged - journey through the idea of memories and the aftermath.
“Saturday Nights” opens with the angry guitars and the self-deprecating “1492,” featuring lyrics like “I bought a gun ‘cause it impresses / All the little girls I see / And then they all wanna sleep with me.” “Cowboys,” the last track before the album switches into pensive mode, spits out unapologetic accusations and a typical Counting Crows philosophical cincher: “I’m not seeing you look at me / I will make you look at me / Or I am not anything.”
The second half of the album features their current single, “You Can’t Count On Me.” Far from the repentant ballad expected from a “Sunday Morning” song, Duritz sings, “All this pain gets me high / And I get off and you know why / There’s just one thing you’ll need to know / And that’s that you can’t count on me.” The hints of piano found in “Saturday Nights” become highlighted in “Sunday Mornings,” and though Duritz’s vocals have calmed down, fervent wails still echo on songs like “On A Tuesday In Amsterdam Long Ago” and “Come Around.”
With an album this divided, listeners will be quick to criticize the cohesiveness between such opposing ideals. But the Counting Crows sidestep the pothole by making the divide so obvious. In many ways, it feels this condemnation is irrelevant. A solid, perhaps final, offering from the Counting Crows shows their strong creative impulse to a mostly admirable and enjoyable effort.