Release Date: Mar 25, 2008
Label: Geffen Records
Genres: Rock, Alt-Country
Number Of Tracks: 14
After six years out of the spotlight, the Counting Crows return to prove their stature as an American rock institution.
Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings
acade365, on may 07, 2008 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: This CD is divided into two different halves or parts: Saturday Nights electric, darker side. Sunday Mornings more of an acoustic, mellow side.
Saturday Nights. This is clearly the best and most consistent half.
01. 1492 - the first song on this side is possibly the darkest from all the record, and one of the fastest with no doubt. All three guitars (yes, three guitars), mix very well to turn this combination of furious riffs into an adrenaline-flooded intro song.
02. Hanging Tree - during the verses, the piano and guitars are only a support for the lyrics; however, during the chorus, the instruments come to the front of the scene and take over, specially the drums and the lead guitar. This song shows some influence of Chicago-based band Wilco.
03. Los Angeles - this song slows down the quick pace that the first two had given to the start of this half. This was probably predestinated to be a single, with maybe a little more of a commercial layout of the instruments. More melodic than the rest of Saturday Nights, the guitars, piano and drums are only a mere support for Adam Duritz' singing.
04. Sundays - this song has clearly some things from This Desert Life, the band's third album, with some more unusual arrangements and some great bass-playing by Matt Malley, former bassist. It's not in the same mood as the rest of this side of the record but it somehow manages to blend very well.
05. Insignificant - this clearly reminds of what the Crows did on Recovering The Satellites, their second album, with some similarities with Have you seen me lately? The guitar playing is excellent and the second voices give Duritz' voice just everything it needs.
06. Cowboys - what to say about this song? It might probably be the best one on the whole album, not just on this side. It has something from almost ever record the Crows have done. It has that rocking feeling from Recovering the Satellites, and the complexity from This Desert Life and Hard Candy.
Sunday Mornings. There are some great songs on this half, but its not even close to the first half consistency.
01. Washington Square - after Saturday Nights rocking half, this song comes a breath of fresh air. Being a chorus-less song, the choice of the instruments varies from the starting piano and guitar to end with bells, a banjo and two guitars, to avoid making it sound repetitive.
02. On Almost Any Sunday Morning - continuing with this calm, almost country-ish half, this song is pretty simple, with an acoustic guitar and a harmonica being the most important instruments; though there are a couple more instruments on the background that complete this great song's soothing atmosphere.
03. When I Dream Of Michelangelo - if you're reading this, you have probably listened to this song, just because it is available on the official site for free. A fun-fact about this song is that drummer Jim Bogios hits a book during the song, not a drum or any other commonly used percussion instrument. Continuing the country mood, this is clearly not the best song on this half.
04. Anyone But You - another great song. The first one on this half to break the calm mood on this half. Its more complex than the first three songs, but around the last minute or so, the song turns into noise rather than music.
05. You Can't Count On Me - another mood-breaker. Being the first single, this song would have gone better on the other half of the record, where electric guitars are more predominant and the beat is faster than in the second one. A bit monotonous, though.
06. Le Ballet D'Or - its complexity and greatly executed instrumentation make it the best song on this half. The difference between this song and the rest on the album is that the Crows rely on more unpredictable and dissonant chords on this one, rather than more layers of audio, as they use on most of their songs.
07. On A Tuesday In Amsterdam Long Ago - this song is a close cousin to Raining in Baltimore and Miller's Angels, from August and Everything After and Recovering the Satellites respectively. Its just piano and voice, and it gets a little repetitive, specially in the end.
08. Come Around - a great song to finish the record. A Maggie May-ish acoustic intro, followed by a clean electric with some D variations and the addition of the piano, the drums and another guitar. This is a solo-less song, something pretty uncommon on CC songs, and they pull it off quite well. Also, its electric, so the end of this half is quite different to the start of it. // 9
Lyrics: Saturday Nights has the betst sound. Lyrically, it's kind of the other way around. Sunday Mornings has cleverer lyrics as shown on Come Around or Le Ballet D' Or, for example. Adam Duritz shows as much feeling as he did on their first album, though better singing techniques and skills. His style could be described as a mix of Bob Dylan's and Van Morrison's, though he does have his unique touch that gets you inside the song, and makes you feel exactly as he says he feels. Unfortunately, some songs with great lyrics finish with the repeating of the same line over and over, and that takes away some of its greatness. // 8
Overall Impression: Overall, it's a really great album, specially the first half. It really brings back all the good things the Crows had done on Recovering the Satellites, August and Everything After and the highly underrated This Desert Life. If it were stolen, I would definitely buy it again. // 9
Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings
UG Team, on april 11, 2008 1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: Having found their way into the hearts and minds of music fans in the early '90s with ubiquitous hits like Mr. Jones and A Long December, the Counting Crows have chosen to keep quiet on the last 4-5 years. With the exception of some soundtrack appearances, the band hasn't entered a recording studio since their 2002 'Hard Candy' album. Lead singer and let's face it, the soul of the band, Adam Duritz, has battled personal demons that kept the song-writer on the sidelines for most of the time. After finally getting diagnosed with a dissociative disorder by a new psychiatrist, Duritz began to be inspired to write what would become 'Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings.' From the opening rush of 1492, it's clear he's returned with a new sense of zeal! After a quick build of snare drum rolls and treble-kissed guitars, the singer crashes in with the impassioned delivery that made him a household name some fifteen years. It's next to impossible to find any Counting Crows album reviews where anyone in the band, besides Duritz, gets any kind of recognition, let alone praise. It's a shame really because he's surrounded himself with a wonderful crew of musicians throughout their heralded career. The guitar trifecta of Dan Vickrey, David Bryson and David Immergluck offer up plenty of the kinds of melodic licks we've come to love from the band. They go from country informed harmonies on Los Angeles to Tom Petty styled riffing on Insignificant. Sometimes they do it in the span of one song like the standout performances on Cowboys. // 7
Lyrics: Duritz' lyrical influences have always been top-shelf and he's proven that he's studied them well throughout his catalog. Van Morrison, Robbie Robertson and Bob Dylan, who Duritz even name-checks on Mr. Jones, all are names that come up when trying to describe his writing style. He turns in quite a few essential songs on 'SN&SM' proving he hasn't lost his step during those quieter years. To be able to sell a line like, "If you see my picture in a magazine/or if you should fall asleep by the bedroom TV/Honey, I'm just tryin' to make some sense outta me," like he does on the Ryan Adams assisted, Los Angeles, you have to do it with the right balance of conviction and confidence. Duritz has the personality, and probably the ego, to do it well. After all, this is the same guy who bedded two members of the 'Friends' cast at the height of the American sitcom's popularity! But the front-man isn't foolish enough not to self-analyze his shortcomings on a few cuts. He tells a woan, I'm coming along real good/but I still can't do most of the things I should, on the bittersweet, well, more bitter than sweet, You Can't Count On Me. His best strength is still his ability to paint a particular moment of time or place much like a cinematographer would. His captivating descriptions in On A Tuesday In Amsterdam Long Ago are so vivid you almost feel like you're one of the characters in the lyrics. // 8
Overall Impression: There is an elite league of bands that you can always depend on for a more than solid studio album every few years. With 'SN&SM,' the Counting Crows have deservingly earned a place in the club. While a few tracks won't exactly win a spot on their next hits collection, most of the material found here ranks right up with some of their best work. The first half of the album, with it's more traditionally roots-rock feel, was produced by personal favorite, Gil Norton (Pixies, Echo & The Bunnymen) while the quieter half was helmed by Brian Deck (Iron & Wine). Norton's expert handling of the layered instrumentation is awe-inspiring. There are multi-guitars, banjos, Hammond B-3, mandolins and a multitude of other instruments on any given song and the veteran studio wiz always presents them in an exciting and always pleasing way. The band had worked with him on their 'Recovering the Satellites album and having him here again was a brilliant choice. The softer material, all over the second half, slacks in places. The main issue is the song sequence. Breaking up the hushed material with some of the more energetic tunes, would have kept the pacing more enticing. But songs like Anyone But You deserve your attention either way. The outfit's restrained performances on these songs are masterful in taste and delivery. When all is said and done, even with it's few setbacks, this album will not let down the large fan base they've cultivated throughout the years. // 7
Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings
unregistered, on april 11, 2008 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Counting Crows is back after 5 years without releasing any studio album, and no comeback could have been better than this one: a 2-CD set divided clearly into two halves, named Saturday Nights And Sunday Mornings. The first part, Saturday Nights, is full of dark, angry songs, that reflect all those feelings that Adam Duritz has deep inside of him. The three guitars, the piano, nd the drums show bitterness in just the right ammount, with furious riffs that leave your mind full of that power that CC's second album, Recovering the Satellites, had showcased back in the 90's. Some songs, such as Cowboys, have an intrincate complexity that is achieved with various layers of well-performed music. Sunday Mornings, on the other side, is more of an acoustic set, but this does not mean they unplugged their electric guitars and played the songs. This half is full of delicate instrumentation, and is more melodic than the first one; nevertheless, some of the songs have a faster beat, and some others, such as the first single "You can't Count On Me" or "Come Around" return to the electric guitars and rock the hell out of everybody. // 10
Lyrics: Duritz Lyrics are as tortured and angst-filled as always, but he somehow manages to avoid making they sound repetitive. He still puts as much or more emotion into the singing as when he was younger, and the lyrics really suit the music. Some phrases still remain strange to me, such as "Shes A Carnival-Diver" (what the heck is that supposed to mean?) from On A Tuesday in Amsterdam Long Ago. // 9
Overall Impression: Overall, Saturday Nights is a little better than Sunday Mornings, but the whole album is a true masterpiece that deserves to be remembered and it is at the same level as August And Everything After or Recovering the Satellites, though this will be hard to admit for most CC fans, that have those great, great albums buried deep inside their mind, heart and soul. Cowboys is one of the best songs on the first half and Ballet D'Or is one of the most complex songs out of both halves, and shows the versatility the Crows have managed to accomplish through their long carrier. I would definitely get this album again if I lost it! Get this album. You wont be disappointed and you will find it was truly worth the waiting. I know I did. // 10