Counting Backwards :: Throwing Muses
Counting Backwards is the opening song from the album The Real Ramona by the Throwing Muses. Released in 1991, it was the last album recorded by the band before the departure of founding member Tanya Donelly.
The album marked the end of a time for the band, and a transition into a new one. The band’s two heavyweights, Kristin Hersh and Tanya Donelly, had been the anchor holding the entire group down. After this album, Tanya left and formed Belly, taking the bassist on this album, Fred Abong, along with her. Hence, the album can be seen as an epitaph to the early days of the band.
The Throwing Muses’ sound is hard to describe, and this record is especially difficult. Despite having the hallmarks of their unfamiliar song structures and Hersh’s voice, The Real Ramona‘s sound has been considered as quite poppy. Though this album was the last to feature Donelly, it carried many of her signature sounds. While she only wrote two songs for this album (Honeychain and Not Too Soon), the Muses had a jumpier, poppier sound that Donelly kept with her when she moved to Belly.
Editor’s Note: I was lucky enough to see the Muses right before Tanya left the band. It was in the middle of a hot Summer, in a small Los Angeles venue, with a very pregnant Kristen who strapped on her guitar across her nearly nine months to due date belly (no Tanya Donelly pun intended) and played one hell of a raw and powerful set. I was musically blown away.