Skip to main content

14. Counting Crows - Films About Ghosts, The Best Of… (2003)

It's weird seeing all of these '90s artists anthologized. In recent weeks we've seen best ofs from Sheryl Crow, Red Hot Chili Peppers, No Doubt, and Tori Amos. Of course, groups like Toad The Wet Sprocket, Nirvana, and Smashing Pumpkins already have compilations, and we're still waiting on best ofs from Oasis, Dave Matthews Band, and Pearl Jam, so it shouldn't really bother me. And yet…

I guess it's part of getting older, but seeing career retrospectives from artists whose first songs I clearly remember encountering creates a wonky feeling. It's like, how did so much time pass so quickly, and what have I been doing with it? Was that really eight years ago that a guy in my dorm declared his everlasting love for Gwen Stefani, and we all said: "Who?"

But it's also a proud feeling, because now there's proof that my generation has produced some genuinely lasting, respectable musical artists. Maybe it's the fatalist in me, but I always have a sense of impermanence when a new artist hits the mainstream. Our pop culture is so disposable that it's nearly impossible to tell who is Sarah McLachlan and who is Jann Arden. For example, I absolutely loved the Counting Crows when I first heard them. This was when I wasn't very much into music, but I bought August And Everything After, and was obsessed with it! Did I expect anything of them beyond that one great record? No.

Even so, I dutifully bought their second album, Recovering The Satellites, and found it entertaining but not engaging, and I pretty much forgot about the band. If I made a list of artists whose next album I would definitely buy, they wouldn't have been on it. They'd have to impress me again to get my interest back. In 2000, I saw the video for Hangingaround, and liked it. I held out a bit, but eventually caved and bought This Desert Life. My reaction to it was identical to the previous one. A pattern was forming.

So, Hard Candy came out last year and I was determined to break the pattern. I willfully ignored the album, though whenever American Girls came on the radio I turned it up a little. Then radio played Miami to death and once again, I was won over. But this time, the album clawed its way into my top 10 for the year.

So here comes Films About Ghosts (great title), with two new songs, a rarity, and non-chronological sequencing. These are all no-nos according to my best of rules, and yet I'll be damned if this isn't one of the most enjoyable compilations I've heard in awhile. Witness: I have no quibbles about the tracklisting, (okay, I miss Daylight Fading and Miami, but am happy to have the version of Big Yellow Taxi with Vanessa Carlton on background vocals); the flow is seamless; the new songs are good; and the overall effect is that I realize just how much I like this band.

And really, that's the noblest of deeds for a best of. Even if it makes me feel old, it's great to see a band I like painted in such a flattering light. Maybe a lot of people (including me) haven't been paying as much attention as they should, but one thing you can say about Counting Crows and this best of: They keep reminding you that they're here. In this modern disposable age, it seems that's the only way to become great.

Rating: A
Fave Song: Anna Begins

Note on the song Einstein On The Beach (For An Eggman): This song has been causing me minor irritation for four years. Local radio stations have been playing it since I moved here and I always loved it but was too lazy or forgetful to research what it was…I assumed it was from a soundtrack. Turns out it's a very early demo that some stations picked up after the group hit big. It's nice to have that mystery solved.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Three passions,and unbearable pity WOTLK Power Leveling for the suffering wlk power leveling of mankind. These passions,wlk power leveling like great winds, in a wayward course,over a great ocean FFXI Gil all the rest of life for final fantasy gil a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, because it relieves loneliness--that terrible age of conan power leveling loneliness in which one shivering consciousness dog clothes looks over This momentousdecree it came as a WOTLK Power Leveling joyous daybreak to end the long WOTLK Power Leveling night ofcaptivity.WOTLK Power Leveling but one hundred years later, we must face aoc gold the tragic fact thatthedog clothes one hundred yearslater
Anonymous said…
we provide a power leveling and free wow gold wow power leveling

Popular posts from this blog

12 by Weezer

Here's the drill: 12 songs to summarize an artist's career, in chronological order (of course). This one features... I decided to take an unconventional route for this 12 by, and pretend Weezer have already released a "greatest hits." Here's what I think that would look like:  1) "Buddy Holly", 2) "Undone - the Sweater Song", 3) "My Name Is Jonas", 4) "The Good Life", 5) "El Scorcho", 6) "Hash Pipe", 7) "Island in the Sun", 8) "Dope Nose", 9) "Keep Fishin'", 10) "Beverly Hills", 11) "We Are All On Drugs", 12) "Pork and Beans".  Here's a different take: 1. " Say It Ain't So"  (from Weezer , 1994)  A little bit heavy, a little bit catchy, quiet-loud dynamics. So basically, it's Pixies lite. The song is interesting lyrically because it's basically nonsense until the "Dear daddy..." bridge, which lets out a t

12 by Jenny Lewis

Here's the drill: 12 songs to summarize an artist's career, in chronological order (of course). This one features... Completely separate from Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis has put together an impressive oeuvre that is very difficult to winnow down to just 12 songs (if you include her work with Rilo Kiley, fuhgeddaboudit). But I've made what I feel is a valiant attempt. Because I admire Jenny's lyrics so much, I'm going to limit my commentary to a favorite couplet from the song. (If you have Amazon Music Unlimited, you can listen along here .) 1. "Rise Up With Fists!!!" (from Rabbit Fur Coat , 2005) "But you can wake up younger, under the knife / And you can wake up sounder, if you get analyzed." 2. "Melt Your Heart" (from  Rabbit Fur Coat , 2005) "It's like a valentine from your mother / It's bound to melt your heart." 3. "Born Secular" (from Rabbit Fur Coat , 2005) "God works in mysterious ways / And God give

12 by Vicious Vicious

Here's the drill: 12 songs to summarize an artist's career, in chronological order (of course). This one features... If you need a reference point for the work of Vicious Vicious mastermind Erik Appelwick, the most appropriate would be Beck. Like Mr. Hansen, Minnesota-based Appelwick has the ability to navigate between making you laugh and making you cry and making you want to dance, and embraces genres from country to R& B to folk to pop.  I've included songs from the two albums Appelwick did under the name Tropical Depression, because honestly there's not a lot of difference between that and Vicious Vicious.  I very literally  wrote the book  on Appelwick, so please feel confident you are hearing from an authority here.  If you have Amazon Music Unlimited, you can listen to an alternate version of list here  (sadly, not all of VV's music is on the service). 1. "Shake That Ass on the Dance Floor" (from Blood + Clover , 2003) A loungy, laconic come-on