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Films About Ghosts: The Best of Counting Crows

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Album Review

Counting Crows always seemed a little older than their years, so it somehow seemed appropriate when they arrived at certain milestones a little earlier than their peers. They released their first live album, an exhaustive double-disc set, just two albums into their career, then, two albums later, they issued Films About Ghosts: The Best Of..., their first compilation. Part of the reason they're issuing a compilation after just four studio albums may be that they've arrived at the end of their recording contract with Geffen and this ties up loose ends, but it's also been ten years since Counting Crows broke through with their debut, August and Everything After, and their first hit, "Mr. Jones," so it's a good time to take stock and recap their first decade. Films About Ghosts does offer an accurate summary of those ten years, even if it's not a complete one. While this generous compilation includes all of the major hits — "Round Here," "A Long December," "Hanginaround," "Mr. Jones," and even the non-LP modern rock chart-topper "Einstein on the Beach (For an Eggman)" — it does overlook three charting singles from their first two albums ("A Murder of One," "Daylight Fading," "Have You Seen Me Lately"), substituting album tracks and two new recordings produced by Brendan O'Brien (the good new single "She Don't Want Nobody Near," an enjoyable but superfluous cover of the Grateful Dead's "Friend of the Devil") instead. Add to this a deliberately non-chronological sequencing that prevents the album from having proper momentum, and Films About Ghosts isn't as ideal a compilation as it could have been, but these are rather minor issues, since it does contain the great majority of Counting Crows' hits and concert staples and, in doing so, it provides a listen that's as enjoyable, frustrating, and rewarding as the band's proper albums. And that means it's a fine summary of the group's stint at Geffen, an era that might have resulted in just four albums in ten years, but did provide a bunch of good music, much of which can be heard here. [This version of the album includes the bonus track "Accidentally in Love," bringing the total number of tracks on the compilation to 17.]

Customer Reviews

A Great Primer

For those who didn't listen to the Counting Crows when they were at their peak in the 1990s, there is no better time to discover one of the greatest alternative rock bands out there. There is no better way than with Films About Ghosts: The Best of Counting Crows. This album, named after a line from the sixth track (Mrs. Potters Lullaby), was recently re-released to include Accidentally In Love from Shrek 2. I bought this album in its original form on CD a year ago, having never listened to the Counting Crows beyond radio airplay. While you will hear familiar songs like Big Yellow Taxi, Mr. Jones and Accidentally In Love, you will also get a brief introduction to other Crows music. Some of their best work, such as the near eight minute song Mrs. Potters Lullaby, never gained much time on the airwaves. The album starts with Round Here, a song that puts lead singer Adam Duritz's poetic and sometimes harping vocals on display. Rain King follows with the same songwriting formula but with a more enchanting, faster and light-hearted sound. A Long December sobers the mood much like the first track but then pieces such as Hanginaround, Mrs. Potters Lullaby and Mr. Jones give us a taste of the Crows at their upbeat best. Listeners will also hear the never before released Friend of the Devil (a Grateful Dead remake) and Einstein On the Beach. Their relatively new single, She Don't Want Nobody Near, is also included and provides some light acoustic charm. The only bad part about this album is it is not an exhaustive list of the group's best hits. In fact, the track listing seems to borrow too much from the August and Everything After album. While this was undoubtedly their best studio release, many other good songs such as Miami, Hard Candy and If I Could Give All My Love are excluded. For this reason, hardcore fans may not want to purchase this album thinking they will be getting a perfect compilation of the band's entire career. This is a great album with a good arrangement, even if some of the "essentials" seem to be excluded. People wanting to discover the Counting Crows for the first time will love this album. It made me get into the band and I soon purchased more of their work. You won't be disappointed.


I was looking for a video to put on my myspace when I came upon Counting Crow's video "she don't want nobody near". I admit, the video wasn't yipee awesome (it was cool though) but the song was great. So, me being the weird person that I am decided to buy their greatest hits album. Let me tell you, this was probably the best decision I have ever made. If you like ANY counting crows song, you should have this album. BUY IT NOW!!! Ahem. There isn't a single song on here that I don't like; I like some songs more than others, like american girls, she dont want nobody near, holiday in spain, angels of the silences, accidentally in love, big yellow taxi, and anna begins. Heck, that's most of the album. But the main idea is, this is one of the best albums I have ever had and it deserves a lot more attention. BUY IT NOW!!! I really like it, and I think you would too. No I am not*BUY*giving*IT* you subliminal*NOW*messages*!!!*

Counting Crows

I love this album - the first song I heard on it was "Accidentally in Love", of course - it was played on the radio practically 24/7. These songs are so good - I never get tired of them. A nice cd to bring in the car.


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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