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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 1999
I was not a Counting Crows fan before I bought "This Desert Life." In fact, I had never even owned or listened to an entire one of their albums. When I heard the song "Hanging Around" for the first time, (in the car on a 14-hour road trip) it made me want to hear the whole disc. In short, this cd is amazing. Songs like "Colorblind" and "All My Friends" are pure poetry come to life. Where on the other hand, you have songs like "Mrs. Potter's Lullabye" and "Hanging Around" which are just great, upbeat roadtrip songs. Luckily, the album is not limited to just a few great tunes. Every song on "This Desert Life" is well-written and orchestrated. The album never loses speed or flavor--in fact, the songs just seem to get better and better. A great thing about Counting Crows' sound on "This Desert Life," is that you can hear different influences in their songs (for instance REM ("Colorblind"), Van Morrison ("All My Friends"), Bob Dylan ("St. Robinson In His Cadillac Dream"), but they never lose sight of their own sound. I highly recommend this album. And especially to those "non-fans"--at least give it a listen. It's definitely worth it.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 1999
I fell in Love with the Counting Crows when their first Album "August..." was released. And after I saw them live I was hooked. I eagerly bought "Satellite" as soon as it was released. I didn't like it nearly as much and was very disappointed. "This Desert Life" has won me back. This is the Counting Crows I love, a beautiful melody and soulful words that speak to you. If you loved their first album you will love "This Desert Life". Nice to see they grew without compromising what made them great in the first place.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2000
You know one of best things about the counting crows last two albums and the live album is that it got rid of all of the "followers" who have been looking for Mr. Jones 1, 2, and 3. Adam Duritz writes from his heart he is not singing lyrics that 5 executives wrote in 5 minutes. The meaning of a great songwriter is one when you listen to the music after a while you start reflecting on the expiriences that have happened in your own life. Counting crows are one of the few bands that constantly do just that. Also about the van morrison, the band, and bob dylan reamrks. you tell me the name of your favorite band and i will tell you their influences. there is noone that you can compare the counting crows to in this day and age. no one! unlike most bands counting crows do not follow the trends and it has paid off. Now TDL is a great album worthy of 5 stars Adam puts his heart and soul into everysong that is performed on this album. He brings you into his lyrics with his voice. True it is more like AAEA than RTS from the instrumental perspective but has the same powerful lyrics.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 1999
I can't say that i like this album better than CC's previous two (or three if you count Across the Wire). But don't let some of these reviews fool you: it's not worse either. It's a bit different from the first two because there aren't any songs as fast-paced as "Mr. Jones" or "Angels of the Silences." It is a mellow album, but soulful. I didn't love it after the first or second listen. But the songs grow on you--the Van Morrisonesque "Hanginaround," the slow build up of the traveling "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby" and the pleading "I Wish I Was a Girl." You'll catch yourself humming these songs before long. And let's be honest: the only thing you want from this review is whether I think the album is worth your money. Definitely.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 1999
If the Counting Crows had never released August and Everything After, anyone who listened to This Desert Life would be hooked instantly. All the same qualities that dominated the bands first offering remain on the third, something that couldn't be said about Recovering The Satellites. Hanging Around is the albums Mr.Jones equivalent with its upbeat guitar and laid back vocals, while tracks such as All My Friends and Colorblind reach the same level of beautiful melancholy that has come to epitomize the Crows sound. The only thing that's going against the record is the fact that August and Everything After still holds such a special place in many music listeners hearts that unless the Crows put out a complete masterpiece, many consider the Crows career over and done with. So if your just dying for the classic Crows sounds on your CD player, This Desert Life will not dissapoint, if you want Adam Duritz and company to go exploring into new musical territory don't bother.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 1999
Okay, first know a couple of things about me: I'm 46 years old, a child of the 60s... I grew up on Bob Dylan...and Neil Young...and Paul Simon and Bruce Springsteen... But, I don't dwell in the past... I listen to new music... But I look for great lyrics, great songwriting, adventurous musical and character in the voice and phrasing...
When I first heard AAEA, I was blown away... But I've also learned a few things about reviewing: 1) Don't always try to compare an album with past works...Judge each on its own merits 2) Don't judge it after one listening...albums either grow on you...or get stale fast (I've owned this one since it came out)...
Here's my take: Yes, some songs pale by comparison to others, but even the lesser songs are good standing alone... A few cuts stand out as excellent: 1) Mrs. Potter...The lyrics are outstanding...they say a lot about fame...and desire...The music builds...It is long, but I wish there was more... 2) Saint Robinson...The music is outstanding and distinct, the lyrics are spellbinding...Adam's phrasing and style sets it apart... 3) High Life...that inside-out major chord is mesmerizing...
Is there another Mr. Jones or Round here? No, but need there be? These songs stand on their own...
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 1999
I'm sure that most of the bad reviews are by people who've only listened a few times. It's that type of album.
For the first couple of weeks, I felt that this was their weakest album, but I can't say that now. As a matter of fact, "Side 2" is one of the best "sides" I've heard in years.
The taste test - I played August and Everything after to completion, and it remains one of the greatest albums I've ever heard (and I've been very into music for over 30 years). I then followed that up with This Desert Life, expecting it to pale in comparison. I found myself playing it over repeatedly. After a song was over, I couldn't wait to hear it again, but before I could repeat a song, I started getting into the next one. So I kept repeating groups at a time.
That's when I know it's working.
And, c'mon! It's not "whiny". It's emotional!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2000
I think this is a great follow up to 'August' and 'Recovering the Satellites'. Takes a couple of listens to really start enjoying it. I've had it in my cd player since it came out and haven't got sick of it yet. Personal Favorites so far are tracks 2,3,4,6,and 7. Mrs Potter's Lullaby seems to get better every time (I think I'm close to memorizing the whole thing!) Saw these guys live at The Rave in Milwaukee, WI about three weeks after the album came out. Incredible! They don't lose anything live, they actually sound better than there albums. Anyways, hats off to everyone in the band, don't ever stop making the only honest music that seems to come out these days............. A huge fan!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2005
If this is your first time with the Crows, you might want to check out Films About Ghosts first. That said, this was actually the first Crows CD I bought. My roommate in college my freshman year used to play Mrs. Potter's Lullaby and I immediately loved it. It wasn't until a year later that I heard some other tracks, and I knew this whole disc had to be a winner. When I purchased it, it did not disappoint. Here is my review.

1. Hanginaround: Great bouncy radio single to start the album off with. I love the guitar riff. Basic song about hanging around a small town being a bum. Basically what I do, lol.

2. Mrs. Potter's Lullaby: In my opinion, the best song on the album. I love the piano melody, the thought-provoking lyrics which go on for the song's entire 7 minutes and 44 seconds with no instrumental breaks. This always brings me to tears. This would appear to be about a movie star whom a messed-up man admires from afar. Judge for yourself.

3. Amy Hit the Atmosphere: A nice one, I like the electric sitar intro, undoubtedly bassist Matt Malley's influence. It's about the title girl who leaves a bad place and the singer who wishes he could take the same way out. A great song to waltz to, as it's in 3/4 time. If you can waltz, that is.

4. Four Days: Probably the most underrated song on the album. Has a different feel than the rest of the material. It's hard to explain. Not much else to say.

5. All My Friends: Good lyrics, nice vocals, pretty string arrangement. "I'm still looking for a girl".

6. High Life: No, not the beer. I have gotten a lot of positive comments about the lyrics to this song. They are very complex and pretty at the same time. I find this song stuck in my head a lot. Good long one, too.

7. Colorblind: As beautiful a piano ballad as there ever was. It was featured on the soundtrack to "Cruel Intentions", which is a sucky movie. Nonetheless, I am moved to tears from time to time. This is probably one of the Crows' most popular songs.

8. I Wish I Was a Girl: This one really has to be heard to be believed. But I can empathize with the lyrics. Too much static in my head keeps me from sleeping sometimes.

9. Speedway: Similar to Walkaways from "Recovering the Satellites", in that it is a song about leaving. A slow, quiet number, it prepares you for the buildup of the grand finale that is track 10.

10. St. Robinson in His Cadillac Dream: An epic of a song, barely containing itself within its 5 minutes length. Starts off with mandolins, which is a treat. A great tale about a man whose dreams become bigger than he can handle. Well worth a listen, if only for the ending where Adam reaches his high note amid a chorus of double-tracked and backing vocals. Pure Heaven. It will make you want to get into a car and drive.

10.5: Yes, there is a hidden track. Keep listening after St. Robinson ends. I will tell you that it's called Kid Things, and it's pretty funny. That is all. Enjoy!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2000
A lot of CDs nowadays you just pop into the player and let them go about their business. They start, do their thing, and come to an end. You aren't sure if you really ever heard anything, probably because all of the songs all sounded the same or because there wasn't anything worth remembering.
The thing with The Counting Crows latest release, "This Desert Life," is that it can seem like you never even heard anything while it was on if you weren't paying attention. The fans of The Counting Crows will dig it, but those who are looking for a repeat of "August And Everything After" and "Recovering The Satellites" won't find much of the same ground here and will probably be disappointed. Where as on their previous two albums they've had a mix of blues-like pop-rock, this album features more of a mellow rock. The opening track, "Hanginaround," is the closest thing to a rock song on "This Desert Life," it's sing-along fun and very up in feeling (not to mention that they were drunk when they recorded parts of it). The rest of the album is very mellow in feeling, due to the lyrics and the way Adam sings them, and at a laid-back pace.
The sense I get when I listen to this CD is that the band just sat around and took their time putting down what they wanted, without a feeling of being rushed to get something to radio. It's not my favorite Crows CD, but it is quality and it is worth listening to if you can give it a chance.
Also, if "Colorblind" really depresses you, wait for the hidden track, "Kid Things," to come up after "St. Robinson" and it'll pick you up. That's the best part of "This Desert Life," it begins on an up note and closes with a positive note.
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Customers who viewed this also viewed
August And Everything After
August And Everything After by Counting Crows (Audio CD - 1993)

Recovering The Satellites
Recovering The Satellites by Counting Crows (Audio CD - 1996)


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