Counting Crows – Hard Candy (2002): Review


Produced by Steve Lillywhite and Ethan Johns
Label – Geffen/Interscope/Universal

“Hard Candy” finds Counting Crows refining their folk rock roots in favour of a radio friendly sheen of anonymity that even diehard fans would find hard to defend. Every melody sounds familiar, as the band lead us through a mix of pure pop and sluggish morose tempo balladry for what is without doubt, their poorest, least memorable recording. The fourteen tunes feel desperately geared towards exposure for those nauseating “interludes” in bad teen movies, and Steve Lillywhite’s bleach clean production effort extracts any hint of organic originality the band extolled on previous recordings.


Admittedly, Counting Crows have never lauded critical commentary for their originality (The Band, The Byrds, and R.E.M. are never far from their repertoire), but ham fisted nods to new wave (complete with bent synthesisers) on “New Frontier”, sickeningly twee homage’s to Burt Bacharach (“Butterfly In Reverse”), and murdering Joni Mitchell classics (“Big Yellow Taxi”), shows a band endeavouring to hit paydirt at the expense of personal identity.
“Hard Candy”?….what a joke. It should have been re-titled “Soft Marshmallow”.
A thoroughly soul less, empty experience.


Track Listing
1.”Hard Candy” (Adam F. Duritz, Daniel J. Vickrey, Charles Gillingham) – 4:20
2.”American Girls” – 4:32
3.”Good Time” – 4:24
4.”If I Could Give All My Love -or- Richard Manuel Is Dead” (Adam F. Duritz, Daniel J. Vickrey, David Immerglück, Charles Gillingham, Matt Malley) – 3:52
5.”Goodnight L.A.” – 4:17
6.”Butterfly in Reverse” (Adam F. Duritz, Ryan Adams, Charles Gillingham) – 2:48
7.”Miami” (Adam F. Duritz, Charles Gillingham, David Immerglück) – 5:01
8.”New Frontier” – 3:51
9.”Carriage” – 4:04
10.”Black and Blue” – 3:53
11.”Why Should You Come When I Call?” (Adam F. Duritz, Charles Gillingham) – 4:38
12.”Up All Night (Frankie Miller Goes to Hollywood)” – 5:07
13.”Holiday in Spain” – 3:50
“Big Yellow Taxi” (Joni Mitchell) – 3:47 [Original issue hidden track]

American Girls

Big Yellow Taxi

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