I’ve been a Counting Crows fan from the day I heard “Mr. Jones”. In my opinion, people willing to sit down and listen to the songs Adam Duritz writes will find unfairly ridiculed gems. I said that to my wife and she scoffed, saying, “Nobody but you listens to that band, Bryan.” Her “nobody but you” really referred to our little circle of commercial radio scoffing snobs, but the point was made and it hung in the balance between us. I can’t say I’ve ever turned her into a Counting Crows fan, just like I doubt I ever made any new Mellencamp fans around here, despite my continual raves of his albums.
That said, reading that the band was putting out a covers album left me incredibly underwhelmed. I am naturally distrustful of the cover song. Why did the band include this track? Did they love it? Were they unable to write an original that they were happy with and needed to fill some time? Why? Why? Why? You never truly know with a cover song, and ever so rarely am I truly happy with the result. But I’m talking about a song on an album. This…this is an album of songs. And they’re all covers.
As you can imagine, my distrust of the cover track expands exponentially when it’s a cover album. Don’t like the idea of them. Not one bit. Too often, a band puts out a cover album that sounds exactly like that; a band playing other bands’ songs. To be honest, there are moments where Underwater Sunshine sounds exactly like that. Lucky for us, they’re pretty far and few between.
On my second pass through this album I took out a sheet of paper and made 3 columns; “Good”, “Bad”, “Okay” and I started counting songs. The final score played out like this: Good (7), Bad (2) and Okay (7), and for a cover album, that’s a homerun.
The highlight of the album very well may be their version of a (once our very own) Kasey Anderson track, “Like Teenage Gravity”. Listening to it is funny. More so than any other track on this cd, “Like Teenage Gravity” feels like it is a Counting Crows song. Honestly, it’s given me a desire to go back and listen to Kasey’s discography with a renewed focus and, in the end, isn’t that the focus of a cover album? Judging from Adam’s track by track writeup on Paste, I think he would say yes…
Here are two of my favorite tracks and one I hated.