Song 311: Counting Crows, “Angels of the Silences” (live version) (1998)

Counting_Crows-Across_A_Wire_Live_In_New_York_City-Frontal

Bands like Counting Crows confuse me. They’re capable of some very good, even great, songs, and yet they’re also capable of some atrocious material. How is that possible? I can understand an artist being on either side of the spectrum, or solidly in the middle. But all over the place? How? Why?

I count “Angels of the Silences” among their great songs. I’m partial to the version from their 1998 live record Across a Wire: Live In New York City, which includes both electric and acoustic performances. I’m so partial to this acoustic version, in fact, that the original version—from Recovering the Satellites—sounds strange. Too strong, too loud, too disruptive.

I think everything about this version is absolutely perfect, from the chiming acoustic guitars to the way Adam Duritz sings the lines “anything at all you know there might not be too many” as one big phrase. And I just love the sound of it; it sounds both solid and light, jangly and heavy. It reminds me of everything I like about Counting Crows—their pop melodies and concision—and none of the things I don’t—the pretension (oh the pretension!).

But overall, I just think this thing is really pretty. Nice work, guys.

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