Friday, April 11, 2008

A Murder of One (Counting Crows)

"When I think of heaven (Deliver me in a black-winged bird)

I think of flying down into a sea of pens and feathers
and all other instruments of faith and sex and God
In the belly of a black-winged bird"

I've always been a music lover, but I vividly recall the 80's (what I refer to as "the lost decade"), in which very few songs spoke to me - I just couldn't seem to connect with Kiss, Journey, Styx, Boston, Toto, insert one-word-band-name here. I did enjoy New Wave (B-52's, A-ha, Thomas Dolby, Fine Young Cannibals, etc.) but it was more about the sounds than the words - figured I'd bide my time until things came back around to my way of listening...

I will never forget hearing the first strains of Mr. Jones on the radio in the early-90's, perking up and thinking, "thankyoujesus, it's about time" - I completely fell in love with Counting Crows' dark lyrics, moody sound and Adam Duritz's dangerous good looks and rushed right out to buy August and Everything After, still in my Top Ten albums of all time.

I recently made a Time mix CD and, motivated by the use of one of their tracks, have had the above-mentioned August on repeat play in my car for the last week - it cycles through, I contemplate ejecting, think better of it and listen for the re-start of Round Here, which surely qualifies as one of the best opening song lines ever (see Beginnings list to the right).

Heaven = Counting Crows
Below are my favorite lyrics from each song, in tracklist order:

"Step out the front door like a ghost into the fog where no one notices the contrast of white on white" ~ Round Here

"Get right to the heart of matters, it's the heart that matters more" ~ Omaha

"I want to be Bob Dylan, Mr. Jones wishes he was someone just a little more funky" ~ Mr. Jones

"I got bones beneath my skin, and mister... there's a skeleton in every man's house" ~ Perfect Blue Buildings

"And everytime she sneezes I believe it's love, and oh lord, I'm not ready for this sort of thing" ~ Anna Begins

"Maybe someday, I won't be so lonely and I'll walk on water every chance I get" ~ Time and Time Again

"I belong anywhere but in between" ~ Rain King

"Past the shadows that fall down wherever we meet" ~ Sullivan Street

"Remember everything." she said, "when only memory remains" ~ Ghost Train

"But what would you change if you could?" ~ Raining in Baltimore

"There's a bird that nests inside you sleeping underneath your skin, when you open up your wings to speak I wish you'd let me in" ~ A Murder of One

SONG: A Murder* of One by Counting Crows (scroll 2/3 of the way down for all lyrics to August and Everything After)

*murder is the collective noun for a group of crows

What words or harder gift
does the light require of me
carving from the dark
this difficult tree?
What place or farther peace
do I almost see
emerging from the night
and heart of me?

The sky whitens, goes on and on.
Fields wrinkle into rows
of cotton, go on and on.
Night like a fling of crows
disperses and is gone.

What song, what home,
what calm or one clarity
can I not quite come to,
never quite see:
this field, this sky, this tree.

QUOTE: "I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs." ~ Joseph Addison

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