Music Review: Counting Crows, Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings

This is the Counting Crows’ first all-new studio album in six years, since Hard Candy back in 2002.

This is a quasi-concept album.  It is divided into two halves, which are, as the title suggests, “Saturday Night” and “Sunday Morning”.  Lead singer Adam Duritz explains the basis for the concept as follows:  “Saturday night is when you sin, and Sunday morning is when you regret.  Sinning is often done very loudly, angrily, bitterly, violently.”  Thus it is that the first half of the album pulses with a loud, throbbing, guitar-driven energy.  The songs are about losing yourself in the party scene, trying to experience some sort of connectedness with others, and trying to find some sort of meaning–all of which the party scene promises but fails miserably to deliver.  The climax of this half of the album is the song “Cowboys”, in which the protagonist is so determined to find some sort of meaning in life and relationship with others that he becomes a serial killer:  “Oh, I will make you look at me!”

On the second half of the album, the tone changes drastically.  The mood is much quieter and more reflective here.  The songs deal with the themes of regret, going to bed with the wrong woman but waking up alone anyway, being stuck in a relationship that you can’t handle, recognizing that there are reasons why women should stay away from you (“You Can’t Count On Me”), longing for an old love, and finally ending on the hopeful note of recognizing that there is still a life out there to be lived.

This album has a little of everything that we loved them for in the early days:  the sparse, reflective sound of the debut album August and Everything After, and the hard, driving sound of Recovering the Satellites.  All in all, this album marks an excellent addition to the Counting Crows’ body of work.