Sound — 10
After establishing themselves as the "most rock and roll rock and roll band" in the world with their first two releases, the Black Crowes began to expand their sound on Amorica. While the rock is most certainly still present, some of this albums most memorable tracks are actually ballads, such as Descending, which features pianist Ed Harsch's finest moments on a Black Crowes record. Amorica will always have a special place in my heart because it contains the two songs that introduced me to this band- Ballad in Urgency and Wiser Time. The former is, unsurprisingly, a ballad that is filled with so much passion it's hard not to feel uplifted as Marc Ford brings the song to it's climax with a perfectly executed solo. The piano coda tacked on to the end of Ballad in Urgency leads seamlessly into Wiser Time, a laid back "road song" which, like My Morning Song from Southern Harmony, is a song that defines the sound of The Black Crowes.
Lyrics — 10
Once again, Chris Robinson delivers with strong lyrics and vocals, which shine on such tracks as Cursed Diamond and Ballad in Urgency. Also of note on this album are the backing vocals provided by rhythm guitarist Rich Robinson. Rich sings harmony to Chris' lead vocals on Wiser Time that compliment the song perfectly.
Overall Impression — 10
Following up an album like The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion is no easy task, but the Crowes managed to produce a record that is as good, if not better with Amorica. Like any of "the big three" (Southern Harmony, Amorica, and the band's fourth album, Three Snakes and One Charm), a strong case can be made as to why Amorica is the best album this band has put out. The songs are all great (with the exception of maybe P.25 London, which tends to get a lot of hate among fans. I personally love it) and the musicianship is stellar. Possibly my one complaint is that the band didn't record Downtown Money Waster as the electric monster it became live for use on this album (they revisited the song in 1997 during the Band sessions and recorded an electric version that does it justice), but even with that said, the acoustic honky-tonk campfire version on the album is fun, and I'm not sure if the electric version would fit in its place. I'll have to swap them one of these days and see how it works.