Song: Anna Begins
Album: August and Everything After
Performer: Counting Crows
Writer: David Bryson / Adam Duritz / Toby Hawkins / Lydia Holly / Marty Jones
I was a freshman in high school and that year my family spent Christmas in Alaska visiting my grandparents and aunt and uncle on my mom’s side who were living up there at the time. It was always strange going to Alaska to visit family. None of them were native to Alaska, they had just sorta migrated up there after my grandparents moved up there. So we visited a few times. It was a great excuse to go to Alaska, for sure, but it was weird to just be doing normal family things in a place where I felt like we should be tourists.
Anyway, one of the normal things that we did there was go to a thrift shop in Anchorage. I would always look at the CDs at thrift shops and on that day I found Counting Crows’ August and Everything After. So many of these songs became the soundtrack to my brooding. I would stay up late in my room and listen to songs that heightened my angsty, passive-aggresive emotions.
I’m sure I’ll end up writing about many songs off this album. It was difficult to decided on one to start with. I ended up just picking one at random. This song is interesting. It begins with a very 90’s drum beat that feels somewhere between a rock beat and almost second-line underneath Adam Duritz’s vocals. It takes almost a full 2 minutes to get to the chorus of the song. The verse is a sprawling, 2 section first-person story about a guy trying to appraise the status of his relationship with a girl. Basically, he can’t decide if it’s love or not.
I think that the point of the song (and this is actually a part of the lyric) is that love is an all-or-nothing sort of pursuit. It’s not something you can half-ass. Listening to this song (and really most of Counting Crows’ music) it definitely feels like he’s overthinking things, but I think that’s sort of the point. The band is definitely appealing to someone like me who tends to think too much and has developed neurosis and anxiety when it comes to social interactions. This music feeds into those insecurities. And it feels good to have that every once in a awhile.