Song of the Day #4,716: ‘Elevator Boots’ – Counting Crows

It’s been seven years since Counting Crows’ last album, 2014’s underwhelming Somewhere Under Wonderland. That release came six years after another lackluster effort, Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings.

Which means it’s been nearly two decades since the last great Counting Crows album, 2002’s Hard Candy. That release capped off a fabulous four-album run for the alt rock band, one that promised a long and brilliant career.

For whatever reason, it didn’t turn out that way. The band, and leader Adam Duritz, became the opposite of prolific, preferring to tour rather than compose new material. And when they did emerge from a long hiatus, the results didn’t live up to their early promise.

Like musical cicadas, the Crows are back this year after a long delay with a new EP titled Butter Miracle, Suite One. Composed of four tracks, this release makes up the first half of an eventual full-length album, with Suite Two still to come.

I’m happy to report that this EP isn’t as disappointing as the band’s last two full-length albums, even if it doesn’t reach the heights of their first four.

The band sounds great. Duritz looks a lot worse for wear these days, but his voice hasn’t aged a day — these songs could be outtakes from August and Everything After.

My favorite tracks are first single ‘Elevator Boots,’ which would have felt right at home on Recovering the Satellites, and final cut ‘Bobby and the Rat-Kings,’ which finds Duritz channeling early Springsteen. The other two songs have their moments but are overly repetitious.

Regardless, this release has me excited to hear the rest of Butter Miracle. It already feels like a much-appreciated visit from an old friend.

Bobby was a kid from round the town
Kicks pumped up and head held down
Underwater more than he was up
He dreamed submarines in bottle green
Imaginary flight machines
But in blue jean flares he bubbled like a 7up

Everybody wants to know you
When you’re the only one to know
Shoot it up until you feel alive then play one more show

Plug into the buzz and shake it ‘til it turns around
(And you can’t stop feeling)
The Paul Smith suits and the elevator boots astound
(And you can’t help healing)
They want you and you want to
With their lips on fire and your head unscrewеd
But it’s time to whip another change and hit onе more town

Bobby doesn’t know her name
He holds on tightly just the same
Sometimes one more night is all you need
I met Alice near the Alamo
One summer in San Antonio
I remember her
I don’t remember me
Everybody wants to know you
When you’re the only one to know
Anything to feel alive and play one more show

Plug into the buzz and shake it ‘til it turns around
(And you can’t stop feeling)
The Paul Smith suits and the elevator boots astound
(And you can’t help healing)
They want you and you want to
With their hips on fire and your head unglued
Til it’s time to whip another change and hit one more town

Alice knows the secret
And she could tell you now
If you want to
Cuz they want you
Do you want to?

I snake & sparkle, pant & glide
But it’s hard to feel and I can’t get high
And I don’t always understand how to smile
Kids get sick of bein’ bottled up
It drags you down until you throw it up
Get out of the house, and take a ride on the radio dial

Everybody wants to know you
When you’re the only one to know
Everything that feels alive is in one more show
Plug into the buzz and shake it ‘til it turns around
(And you can’t stop feeling)
The Paul Smith suits and the elevator boots astound
(And you can’t help healing)
They want you and you want to
Cuz the kid’s so clean with his soul shampoo’d
And it’s time to whip another change and hit one more town
Yeah, it’s time to whip another change and hit one more town

8 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,716: ‘Elevator Boots’ – Counting Crows

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I’m not nearly as negative of the Crows’ last two albums as you are. The Sunday Mornings side of Saturday Evenings… is quite good, with “Washington Square” and “I Dream of Michelangelo” being standouts. And Somewhere Under Wonderland was even stronger – receiving largely positive reviews – with opener “Palisades Park,” “Earthquake Driver,”
    “Scarecrow” and “Possibility Days” all being quite good. I think you owe those albums, or at least those tracks, another listen!

    Meanwhile, “Elevator Boots” is good stuff and I’m excited about the new album.

  2. Peg says:

    “Musical cicadas “ love it!

  3. Maddie says:

    As a strident Somewhere Under Wonderland defender, I definitely take issue with some of this post!! But I will admit that the strongest Crows complete albums belong to the early 2000s.

    I’m a fan of this new EP and each of the songs continue growing on me with each listen. “Elevator Boots” was immediately infectious. It’s funny that they accidentally released the single edits for all of the songs rather than the completed EP vision which had each blending into the next. I like them so much better that way, though I can’t totally pinpoint why.

    • Clay says:

      I gave Somewhere Under Wonderland another listen today after your comment and Dana’s… sad to say, I’m still underwhelmed. I do love ‘Cover Up the Sun’ as much as I did when it first came out, and ‘Earthquake Driver’ is a lot of fun, but nothing else rose to the level of their best work (IMO).

      Funny about the single edits of Butter Miracle… I was wondering why the songs didn’t blend together the way I’d read they were supposed to.

  4. Amy says:

    I’m definitely a bigger fan of the earlier stuff, but the fam was recently having me reflect and reconsider during our last drives. Looking forward to hearing this whole album, though I’m already notorious on this blog for sticking relentlessly with the music from an artist through which I initially fell in love with them. In this case, it’s rather notable that Hard Candy gets as much love and air play as August and Everything After does…

  5. The Cool Guy (Daniel) says:

    A little late to this post, but I thought I’d weigh in. I would have to agree with what some others here have said. “Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings” has a couple of my favorite Counting Crows songs with “Washington Square” and “Los Angeles”. I will say as a whole that album is not as consistent, so I understand it’s lower ranking. However, “Somewhere Under Wonderland” is up there as one of my favorite Counting Crows records. “God of Ocean Tides” alone is one of the most beautiful songs they’ve released IMO. All that being said, I was very disappointed by this most recent EP. I felt no real attachment to the sentiments being expressed in the songs. Where typically Duritz navigates metaphoric and flowery language with a strong emotional core, these songs felt far too empty for me. “Elevator Boots” is probably my favorite, but I hope the rest of the album has something more to say!

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