Counting Crows: Recovering the Satellites – with “Catapult” video cover

Counting Crows - Recovering the SatellitesPart 1 of 12 Albums That Stuck With Me

The term I use most often to describe Recovering the Satellites to myself is “brutal”.

The songs on this album go beyond heartbreak straight to utter despair, dysfunction, and complete emotional collapse. So it really was the perfect stuff to be listening to right after my first big college breakup. Teenagers never get overdramatic about these things, right?

Identifying with lines like “Why’d you leave me ’til I’m only good for waiting for you” in “Angels of the Silences” probably prolonged and reinforced my self-imposed misery, so it just goes to show you how damaging good music can be. The guitars positively sob rather than gently weep; whatever pedal achieves the “ugly cry” effect, I haven’t heard it many other places. Probably for the best.

Though many tracks do indeed describe just how shitty and destroyed lead singer and songwriter Adam Duritz feels after being dumped, some tackle other areas of his life that suck. “Have You Seen Me Lately?” relates the anxiety of losing one’s identity to the public persona one creates – in this case, on the radio with an explosively successful debut album. “Another Horsedreamer’s Blues” and “Mercury” recount the struggles of other women in his life. The title track would almost be an inspiring promise to get better if it were last on the disc, but four more songs seem to suggest that clawing back to okay won’t be so easy.

Over the years I learned to play about half the songs on this album and Counting Crows’ previous one, August and Everything After. Then they got a happy boppy tune in one of the Shrek movies and they were kind of over. Still, they made three more studio albums of quite high but gradually declining quality: This Desert LifeHard Candy, and Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings. I’m still considering starting a tribute band.

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