Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings

Adam Duritz has traversed the convoluted expanse between ying and yang many times since the release of Counting Crows’ 1994 debut August and Everything After. To be specific, Adam Duritz has explored the dark side and the bright rays of his own life many times over. The bands new release, its first in 6 years, continues on this theme.

Life as a successful rock star has its rewards but, as Duritz documents here, it also brings the temptation to err on the side of extravagance and misconduct. The album’s title, Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings, is a metaphor for the debauchery of Saturday night and the consequential hangover of Sunday morning along with regret and ugly self realization. Fortunately Sunday morning also offers absolution – to a degree. As Duritz delves into both sides of his nature so follows the sound of the album.

Saturday Nights, produced in New York City by Gil Norton, who also produced the band’s Recovering the Satellites, takes us into the sleazy, darker side of the Duritz psyche. The opening lines of “1492” feature an honest and clever self-appraisal of the Duritz persona. “I’m a Russian Jew American/impersonating African Jamaican” he sings. By song’s end he’s made it clear that he feels alienated by his fame, the hanger-on friends and random girls who offer sexual favors at the drop of … well, not his hat. Duritz mines his conflicted emotions throughout the rest of the Saturday nights portion of the record. On “Insignificant” the dichotomy of fame hits its height as the rock star is torn between wanting to be just another guy but has to admits that the attention is a good stand-in for self worth. The music buzzes along at an angry, sometimes frantic pace, racing to keep up with the torrent of emotion.

Sunday Mornings dawns on “Washington Square.” This portion of the album, as produced by Brian Deck, awakens the mellower, sensitive, acoustic Duritz. The inner struggle is still the focus; however the anger has dissipated to depression and self-acceptance. “You Can’t Count On Me” offers an honest appraisal of Duritz’ use of a girl who likes him way to much for her own good. But at least he admits to and accepts his own caddish behavior. That’s a step in the right direction, isn’t it? This latter section of the record was written and recorded as the band toured and the music reflects the changing landscape. One could even suggest there is a touch of country to some of the later tracks.

Duritz, who wrote all the song with occasional input from his band mates, has made no bones about the fact this album is all about him. In that case, if you are ready to become Mr. Adam Duritz, let this album be your portal.

Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Mix Host)