Arts & Culture

Sticking up for Adam Duritz of The Counting Crows on His Birthday

I really hope when the history books on the decade I came of age in are written, that the musical output of the 1990’s isn’t looked back upon with too much fondness.  Yes, the 90’s produced Kurt Cobain, Pavement, Wu-Tang, … Read More

By / July 30, 2010

I really hope when the history books on the decade I came of age in are written, that the musical output of the 1990’s isn’t looked back upon with too much fondness.  Yes, the 90’s produced Kurt Cobain, Pavement, Wu-Tang, Will Oldham, Fugazi, Jawbreaker, Jawbox, etc. etc. etc.  All great stuff.  And yes, there was The Year Punk Broke, when indie labels started making money, and hip-hop had some watershed moments too.  But when I tell my grandkids about those last days of the millennium, I will follow it all with the disclaimer: it was an incredibly shitty decade for music. If we were to take a scale weighing the good vs. the bad, in the latter category, you have Limp Bizkit, Lit, bad boy pop, "Barbie Girl," and a ton of unforgivable crap that should be given the wicked Haman treatment (AKA blotted out from history). The radio made a lot of mistakes from ’90-’99.  Alternative radio was a massive joke, and the programing on MTV shifted from music videos to a generation that cleared the way for Snooki and The Situation.  If there ever was a dark age for music, this was it. Still, there were bright spots when you tuned into the FM dial:  "Semi Charmed Life" was a dark and catchy song, "The Freshman" by the Verve Pipe still kills me, and honestly, the bombastic Brit pop of Oasis holds up fifteen years later. And then there was "Mr. Jones" — the song written by a dreadlocked Jew named Adam Duritz was an unlikely anthem for all musicians who wanted to "make it," and somehow became a defining song for the generation with it’s Byrdsesque guitars and cryptic lyrics.  Sixteen years after it’s release, it’s (in my mind) the only really good song the band ever produced–even though the charts prove me otherwise–but if I were to write one great song in my entire life, I’d want to write one like this. This Sunday Adam Duritz will turn 45-years-old.  Counting Crows can still pack a room, and from all accounts, Duritz still has the same terrible hairdo he had during his defining moment, but this weekend you should do yourself a favor and revisit this little gem, and remember a little light spot in a very dark time.