Song of the Day #2,688: ‘Hard Candy’ – Counting Crows

hardcandyCounting Crows are one of the world’s most unjustly maligned bands, so I wasn’t surprised that their fourth record — Hard Candy — didn’t show up on any of the critics top ten lists I studied when preparing this collection of 2002’s best albums.

Still, it’s a mystery to me why even this incredible album went unappreciated by tastemakers. A deeper analysis showed that the record wasn’t panned. It received solid reviews — a B here, three stars there — but nothing that would put it in the conversation among the year’s best.

But how can this collection of tight, bright, emotionally resonant pop songs not muscle its way into that company? Is it too fun a listen?

Well, I certainly won’t solve the mystery of Counting Crows’s tepid critical reception here, but I can unapologetically place this album near the very top of my personal 2002 list. And as excellent as the band’s debut, August and Everything After remains, my vote goes to Hard Candy as their finest work to date.

Today’s SOTD, the title track, is a perfect encapsulation of the album’s appeal. It’s a bittersweet exploration of memory and loss performed with the exuberance of the first day of summer.

[Verse 1]
On certain Sundays in November
When the weather bothers me
I empty drawers of other summer’s
Where my shadows used to be

[Verse 2]
She is standing by the water
As her smile begins to curl
In this or any other summer
She is something all together different
Never just an ordinary girl

[Verse 3]
And in the evenings on Long Island
When the colors start to fade
She wears a silly yellow hat
That someone gave her when she stayed
I didn’t think that she returned it
We left New York in a whirl
Time expands and then contracts
When you are spinning
In the grips of someone
Who is not an ordinary girl

[Chorus]
When you sleep
You find your mother in the night
But she stays just out of sight
So there isn’t any sweetness in the dreaming
And when you wake the morning covers you with light
And it makes you feel alright
But it’s just the same hard candy
You’re remembering again

[Verse 4]
You send your lover off to China
Then you wait for her to call
You put your girl up on a pedestal
Then you wait for her to fall
I put my summer’s back in a letter
And I hide it from the world
All the regrets you can’t forget
Are somehow pressed upon a picture
In the face of such an ordinary girl

[Chorus]

[Outro]
Again[x4]
It’s just the same hard candy
You’re remembering again
Again[x4]
And it’s just the same hard candy
You’re remembering again
Go ask her to come around
And see me late after dark
Don’t ask me to come around
Then wait to if there’s a spark
[x3]

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3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,688: ‘Hard Candy’ – Counting Crows

  1. Dana says:

    I suspect the Crows lost critical acclaim as a consequence of achieving early commercial success with Mr. Jones. Critics lavish praise on the undiscovered, or the discovered whose music is or has become too cool and original for the masses such that the songs won’t find their way to radio or the billboard charts. It is part of the snobbery and elitism that drives me crazy with music critics.

    Hard Candy is a great album and I join you in celebrating it.

  2. Peg says:

    I’m not familiar with their music, but I do like this song a lot

  3. Maddie says:

    ❤ Long live Counting Crows!

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