Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings
After a six-year-long disappearance, Counting Crows front man Adam Duritz seems ready to take on the musical world with the band’s first full-length release since Hard Candy.
Aptly titled Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings, the release is cleverly divided according to the soul-searching late-night forays and early-morning regrets that usually compose the weekend. The first six tracks are predominantly up-tempo tunes while the final eight consist of softer, introspective rock ballads. However, despite this attempt at an even distribution of Duritz’s signature unthreatening wail, the first half of the CD outshines the latter and ultimately generates its strongest tracks.
Perhaps this is mostly owing to the influence of Gil Norton, who produced the Saturday Nights section of the album as well as the band’s well-received 1996 release, Recovering the Satellites. Songs like !492 and Hanging Tree have recognizable traces of the band’s roots with a sound reminiscent of Satellites and the calculatedly messy guitar riffs to match.
Though the apologetic ballad You Can’t Count on Me is the Crows’ first single off of Saturday Nights, the wiser choice could’ve arguably been Cowboys, the last track from the album’s first half. The song is lyrically rich, with Duritz’s trademark self-deprecation as he sings, This is a list of what I should’ve been, but I’m not/ This is a list of the things I should’ve seen/ But I’m not seeing. Overall, the track is a satisfying mix of the melancholy undertones and boisterous guitar solos that Crows fans have been missing for the past six years.
With the danceable Shrek 2 sing-along Accidentally in Love as one of their few musical interjections after Hard Candy, I’m reluctant to call Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings a successful comeback. The first half stands strongest, and I’m inclined to believe that more Norton-produced tracks would do the album more justice. Then again, there’s nothing wrong with a Sunday morning ballad, and the Counting Crows at least know how to do it right.
Give these tracks a listen: