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Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did On Our Summer Vacation) [Deluxe Edition]

Counting Crows

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iTunes Editors' Notes

With an album title that twists references to The Soft Boys and Fairport Convention, Underwater Sunshine displays Counting Crows' love for music with covers of songs they've simply always liked. The choices are eclectic and inspired, promoting newer names such as The Romany Rye ("Untitled Love Song"), Coby Brown ("Hospital"), and Dawes ("All My Failures") and established acts like Bob Dylan ("You Ain't Goin' Nowhere", "Girl from the North Country") and The Faces ("Ooh La La"). Singer Adam Duritz is a confessed music geek, and his love for the material is obvious. The band's kinetic energy and intuitive chemistry work through a variety of genres with assurance. Their take on Kasey Anderson's "Like Teenage Gravity" brings out its dark brooding ghost. Pure Prairie League's "Amie" and Big Star's "The Ballad of El Goodo" are good fun and a chance for the band to break out the harmonies. The entire album lets the band enjoy playing for the love of the song, and it shows. Their versions of "Girl from the North Country" and Madonna's "Borderline" are exclusive to iTunes. 

Customer Reviews

Back Where They Belong

Like all bands, Counting Crows hit the inevitable flat spot. Over the last few years something has definitely been missing from their repertoire. They are still amazing live. Nobody, and I mean nobody can arrange and deliver a tune in as unique a way as Adam Duritz. But the last studio album, 'Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings' screamed death knell. It’s a jumbled, confused mess that just doesn’t seem to ever get where it’s going. Personally, I never felt like it knew where it was going. But the live version of 'August and Everything' After that came out at the same time is an album that portrays a band at the peak of its powers – have a listen to the 'Rain King/Thunder Road' medley if you don’t believe me. The juxtaposition of the live album and the studio album left a very confused feeling. Were they coming or going? The four year hiatus that followed 'Saturday Nights' suggested the latter.

Then 'Underwater Sunshine' appeared on the horizon. I was buzzing at the prospect of fresh material. And then came the flat anti-climax of finding out the new album was going to be a catalogue of cover versions. I’m a fan though, so I went online and bought it.

I love it. This is a group of musicians fully in control of their talent enjoying themselves, and that’s what was missing from 'Saturdays Nights and Sunday Mornings' but in abundance on the live 'August and Everything After'. Cover versions or not, this is Counting Crows working it like they used to. It’s the raw brutality of their live work mixed with the influences and pure love of performing that made 'August' and 'Satellites' the classics they are.

There’s something about the way Counting Crows arrange a song that makes it somehow new but at the same time recognisable. Take the song 'Borderline' for example. I can’t stand Madonna, so imagine my surprise when I realised what I was humming away to when I first heard the live arrangement on 'Underwater Sunshine'. This is far from a self-indulgent, glorified Karaoke session; 'Underwater Sunshine' is evidence of a band fighting its way back to where it belongs.

Somebody recently described Counting Crows as ‘middle of the road’. Maybe that’s true, but what’s wrong with that? Sometimes cruising down the middle of the road is exactly the right place to be. Don’t get me wrong, there’s always a time for screaming along to something loud and heavy, but It’s important to have a middle of the road place too, and for me Counting Crows is that place. I’m pleased they are back and hopeful there’ll be more a little further down the road.

Best album in a while but it doesn't touch the bands early work.

Best album in a while but it doesn't touch the bands early work.

"Untitled (Love Song)" is an instant classic, unfortunately it stands head and shoulders above the rest of the album. The album has a much stronger country sound than we have heard from Counting Crows in the past. Personally i find this a little disappointing as for me they have lost a little of their originality in the process.

That being said it is still a solid effort and standout tracks include:

Untitled (Love Song)
All My Failures
Jumping Jesus
Girl from the North Country
Like Teenage Gravity

Back to it

This album has a similar feel to hard candy. There are some old songs that have been on previous albums but they have been reworked.
Its another killer album from the Crows, thanks to the boys for making it right.


Formed: August, 1991 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

With their angst-filled hybrid of Van Morrison, the Band, and R.E.M., Counting Crows became an overnight sensation in 1994. Only a year earlier, the band was a group of unknown musicians, filling in for the absent Van Morrison at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony; they were introduced by an enthusiastic Robbie Robertson. Early in 1993, the band recorded its debut album, August and Everything After, with T-Bone Burnett. Released in the fall, it was a dark and somber record, driven by the morose...
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