The Counting Crows have a new album out and they are following the trend of releasing an album full of covers: Underwater Sunshine”. The rest of the album’s title is “(or what we did on our summer vacation)”. It’s a covers album of songs they want others to learn to appreciate too. It includes music from The Faces, Bob Dylan, Gram Parsons, Dawes, Travis, and Tender Mercies.
If you could only download one track: “All My Failures” (a cover of the song by Dawes)
Hot Fire Of Truth: The Crows haven’t come up with an entirely original idea here. There are lots of these “Cover” albums bouncing around these days; some good and some bad. When I hear an established artist covering another artist’s song, I’m looking for them to either bring something completely unique to the mix (Johnny Cash & Hurt for instance) or to bring so much passion to it that they suck me in (Last Kiss by Pearl Jam).
While the Counting Crows definitely bring what I’ll call their signature sound to these songs, there isn’t enough passion on this whole disc to muster up a warm fart. While the band does a notable job of putting the songs into the correct orbit, Adam Duritz vocals feel flat and lifeless. Which I find to be confusing- if the band supposedly loves these songs so much they just HAD to record them and sell them to us, WHY does the lead vocals sound like he’d rather be doing ANYTHING but singing these songs.
I know, his usual warble kinda sounds like that anyway- droopy. Maybe I’m mistaking his normal droopiness for boredom. So I listened a second time.
Nope. I was right.
I don’t hear the normal melancholy or angst that makes him/ them palatable. Instead, what I hear sounds tired and some what bored. (He also butchers the SH%T out of “Ooh La La” by the Faces which is one of my favorite songs.)
I can’t swear to it but this entire record smacks of a half-assed attempt to fulfill a label commitment without really working for it. If you’re an uber CC fan, pick it up and you may find a song or two you’ll keep on rotation. Non-Crows fans will regret spending the 10 bucks should they accidentally hit the “download now” tab.