By Chris Moore:
Happy Labor Day to one and all! I’ve always thought that it was interesting that there is very little “labor” accomplished on Labor day, but I suppose it’s more an appreciation and celebration of all the labor that is done on the other 364 days of the year. Regardless, I’m not complaining that I don’t have to work on this beautiful, sunny day — what a magnificent first day of September it is, at least here in good ole Connecticut, USA!
And September 1st is not only Labor Day, but it’s also the birthday of my girlfriend, Nicole. So, to help her celebrate it, I figured there’s no better way than choosing and recording a song for my music video today that she would love. This is actually a song that I just played her for the first time a couple of days ago, and she immediately loved it. “American Girls” is the second track on the Counting Crows’ Hard Candy album. It’s notable for being one of two songs from this album to make the greatest hits. Although it was a very mild hit, I think it’s a great song. And I can’t believe that it took me years to figure out that Sheryl Crow contributes the background vocals! I picked up this album used from FYE a couple weeks ago and figured that out as I read the liner notes. It was definitely a “Duh” moment…
The album is one of those that starts extremely strong — the first four tracks are simply amazing. “Hard Candy” starts off the album and the first couple lines are among my favorite that Duritz has ever written. Then comes “American Girls.” The third track, “Good Time,” is not anything special, I suppose, but I really like it. And I love “Richard Manuel is Dead.” Those first four tracks are a tour de force. Then, the next few tracks slow it down, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it never really picks back up to the quality of those first four tracks. So, while I like the album, I can’t really fall in love with it. It’s one of those albums that, by track eight, you’re fighting the temptation to skip back to track one.
But, if you buy this album, don’t flip back to the first track without hearing the last track, “Holiday in Spain”! It’s one of my favorite songs from the Counting Crows. It starts off with just piano and Duritz’s vocals, and gradually builds up to a triumphant final verse and chorus. For those of you who don’t know me, I just love it when a song begins with no drums or minimal drums, then really kicks into high gear! For instance, that’s probably why “Pretty (Ugly Before)” is my favorite Elliott Smith song on From a Basement on the Hill.
Well, that’s enough music commentary for one day. I’m off to have some lunch, celebrate Nicole’s birthday, celebrate Jim’s groundbreaking new purchase (I’m sure he’ll tell you all about it in his next post!), and try to get some work done amidst all the excitement…
See you next session!