This Desert Life

This Desert Life

by Counting CrowsCounting Crows


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It's likely that critics and listeners will consider Counting Crows' long-delayed third album, This Desert Life, another retro effort by a traditionalist band, but it's actually their most individual and finest album yet. All the familiar elements are in place, from Adam Duritz's impassioned vocals and cryptic lyrics to the jangling instrumentation, but the laments gel better than ever before. Part of it undoubtedly has to do with David Lowery and Dennis Herring's organic production, which keeps the rough edges in place, helping the music to breathe, but the real success of the record is due to the band themselves, who have matured gracefully. They may have spent a long time recording this album, but the music feels natural and immediate. Upon closer inspection, the craft really shines through. The songs are tight, with strong hooks on the choruses, and nice, memorable melody lines; the arrangements may be earthy, but they're never cluttered. Most importantly, Duritz has reigned in his tendency to overwrite and over-emote, turning in his best sets of songs to date. But the best thing about This Desert Life is that it holds together as a cohesive album while providing the best individual songs in the band's catalog. And that just doesn't mean the best singles, although "Hanginaround" is their finest uptempo number to date; the album tracks are consistently compelling, ranging from the winding narrative of "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby" to the measured ballad "Speedway." These subtle differences -- the confident performances, cohesion, and assured songwriting -- add up Counting Crows' strongest album to date. They may still recall rock giants, but only in the best possible way -- by crafting an album that ebbs and flows like the best classic rock records.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/02/1999
Label: Interscope Records
UPC: 0606949041526
catalogNumber: 490415
Rank: 3874

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Counting Crows   Primary Artist
David Bryson   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Slide Guitar,Guitar (12 String Electric)
David Campbell   Strings,Conductor
Larry Corbett   Cello
Joel Derouin   Violin
Charlie Gillingham   Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Hammond Organ,Electric Piano,Vocals,Mellotron,chamberlain
Dennis Herring   Keyboards,Loops
David Immerglück   Bass,Mandolin,Pedal Steel Guitar,Electric Guitar
Clay Jones   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Electric Guitar
David Lowery   Background Vocals
Ben Mize   Percussion,Drums,Vocals,Background Vocals
Adam Duritz   Piano,Vocals,Background Vocals
Gary Derosa   Background Vocals
Chris Seefried   Background Vocals
Dan Vickrey   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Sitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Matt Malley   Bass,Vocals,12-string Guitar
August Cinjun Tate   Background Vocals
Adam Hamilton   Background Vocals,Hand Clapping
Eve Butler   Violin
Matthew Funes   Viola

Technical Credits

David Campbell   Arranger,Orchestration
Jim Champagne   Engineer
Joe Chiccarelli   Engineer,Engineering
Richard Hasal   Engineer
Dennis Herring   Producer
David Lowery   Producer
Jeff Sheehan   Engineer
Adam Duritz   Art Direction
Dave McKean   Art Direction,Illustrations
Bill Merryfield   Art Direction
Martin Pradler   Engineer
Ok Hee Kim   Engineer

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