CD of the Week :: Hard Candy (2002) :: Counting Crows

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CD of the Week :: Hard Candy (2002) :: Counting Crows

For the second installment, for the CD of the week feature, I picked Counting Crow’s “Hard Candy”, a new-to-me CD that I got about a week ago at FYE, in Fullerton. I used to have a CD copy of this album back when I lived in Saline, Michigan, that I bought at a local record store in Ann Arbor, but it got lost in the moves and the changes of life. So, now I have a new one, and I’ve been spinning it off-and-on in my care, ever since.

This new version I have does not have the added cover of “Big Yellow Taxi”, featuring Vanessa Carlton.

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A Little History:

“Hard Candy” is the fourth studio album by Counting Crows, released in the United Kingdom on June 7, 2002 and the following day in the United States.

Reviews hailed the album as the best release since their debut, with the albums of the mid-1990s being “long, and drawn out”, one reviewer happily announced that, “Hard Candy is crisp and tight, packed with three- and four-minute shots of radio friendly fare”, and that during a time when hard rock is the standard, the band are not afraid of a sound that is in the title track, compared to the Byrds, and with its “Allman-esque” twin guitars, echoes The Band in “If I Could Give All My Love (Richard Manuel Is Dead)”.

Another review (Patrick Schabe) name check’s The Band when they wrote, “The heavy debts to The Band and R.E.M. are still present, but Duritz seems to have finally found the courage to explore the whole pop palette and cover a wide range of Americana. Yes, Duritz’s lyrical themes of self-effacing wistfulness are still intact, but they’ve been tempered by a sense of worldliness that keeps them from sounding like adolescent emoting.” (from PopMatters)

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My thoughts:

Sleep, and lack thereof, love, and lack thereof, California and Spain and Miami, and all those places in-between, and a myriad spin of memories, are all the things, and all the feelings, that come to mind when I think on, and listen to, Counting Crows’ “Hard Candy”.

Listening the album, from start-to-finish, after about 12 years in-between, has brought with it a myriad of emotions, and musically-triggered memories. Though a handful of songs from the album have found their way on many a mix and/or playlist, it had been awhile since I listened to “Hard Candy” in its entirety. I’ve missed the album, as I have missed listening to albums this way (part of why I decided to do this series).

There are a few songs on this album that bring me to tears. There are others that hit in that “yes yes yes, I get that, yes” place in me, especially when anxiety, insomnia and worries about love are tapped on – oh, and also regret, and that heaviness of missing someone.

I spun this CD while my best friend and I drove through Laguna Canyon a few weekends ago, and it was such a beautiful, and emotionally impacting way to take in these songs. Earlier, when I had this CD the first time around, I can remember vividly playing it while driving across country, coming back to California, going back “home”. I remember the endless road ahead, the changing scenery, and that lingering doubt that hung over like rain clouds, just waiting to open up and fall apart.

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My Top 5 Favorite Songs:

1. Carriage

“Surprise surprise,
I miss your hair,
you miss my eyes.
And all this solitude,
is my confidence eroding.”

2. Holiday in Spain

“Hop on my choo choo,
I’ll be your engine driver in a bunny suit.”

3. Black and Blue

“You’ve been waiting a long time,
to fall down,
on your knees,
cut your hands,
cut yourself until you bleed.
Fall asleep next to me,
wait for everyone to go away.”

4. Goodnight L.A. 

“It seems like the daylight is coming,
and no one is watching but me.”

5. Miami

“Cause my angel,
she don’t receive my calls,
says I’m too dumb to fuck,
too dumb too fight,
too dumb to save.
Well, maybe,
I don’t need no angel at all.”