Song of the Day #983: ‘Miami’ – Counting Crows

Starting off the final week of my series on great albums, I arrive at a band that has released only five studio albums over 18 years… two of which were strong contenders for this list.

Counting Crows don’t get a whole lot of respect from critics and music snobs, for reasons I’ve never understood, but I’m a huge fan of their brand of literate, earthy pop rock. They borrow from Van Morrison, The Band, and R.E.M. but the product they whip up in their musical blender is distinctly their own.

The band exploded out of the gate in 1993 with ‘Mr. Jones,’ still the biggest hit they’ve ever had. That song appeared on their debut album, August and Everything After, a record that stands as one of the 90s’ best.

But they topped themselves in 2002 with the release of their fourth album, Hard Candy. This record is the tightest and brightest they’ve produced, a pop confection that lives up to its title. But it’s also as deeply felt and deeply thought as their more meandering releases.

‘Miami’ is a highlight of Hard Candy, and as such it’s one of the best songs the Crows have ever recorded. Duritz wrote it while waiting for a girlfriend (the “Amy” who shows up in many of his songs) to land in Miami. He knows their relationship is ending but he’s not quite ready for it to happen.

I love a song that builds to a big finish, and this one does that in spades.

I guess I think I feel alright
You come circling through the light
The skyline, baby, is bright tonight
What more perfect rendezvous?
The sundown paints the shadows
Through the daylight, Amy, on what we do

It looks like darkness to me
Oh, Drifting down into Miami

Can I say,
“I wish that this weather would never leave?”
It just gets hard to believe
That God sent this angel to watch over me
Cause my angel
She don’t receive my calls
Says I’m too dumb to fuck
Too dumb to fight
Too dumb to save
Well, maybe, I don’t need no angel at all

It looks like darkness to me
Drifting down into Miami
She could pull the sunlight through me
Coming down into Miami

Make a circle in the sand
Make a halo with your hand
I’ll make a place for you to land

The bus is running
It’s time to leave
This summer’s gone
And so are we
So come on baby,
Let’s go shut it down in New Orleans

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #983: ‘Miami’ – Counting Crows

  1. pegclifton says:

    I just love the photos of Miami that are on the video. I’m not familiar with Counting Crows’ music, but I do like this song a lot. I’m not sure what the last line about New Orleans means though?? Does he think she’ll come back to him there?

  2. Dana says:

    Greetings from St. Thomas, which has just enough Internet access at a snail’s pace for me to not break my streak of commenting:)

    Great song, great album…And, Peg, I suspect the singer is talking to his band mates at the end…that they perform in New Orleans.

  3. Amy says:

    As Dana says, the Internet access is beyond slow, so I’m frustrated not to be able to hear the song while I read your entry and reflect on one of the many wonderful songs on this perfect album. The fact that it’s dedicated to me is just gravy 😉

    Actually, isn’t “Amy” Courtney Cox? Or is that Maria? Regardless, I love the song. Just got the beginning of the song to play, and, oh, how I adore Adam’s emotional, never whining! delivery. He may be my very favorite singer.

    This isn’t my favorite song on this album – that would have to be the title song. Still, this is a great one. Thanks for sharing it, and for choosing this as one of your featured albums.

  4. Amy says:

    Oh, and while I do like Dana’s theory, the fact that he first get the attention (“So come on baby”) of his “baby” before presenting his invitation to shut it down in New Orleans suggests that Peg is right that he may be talking to Amy.

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