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This Desert Life

4.2 out of 5 stars 352 customer reviews

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58th Annual GRAMMY Awards
Discover this year's nominees on CD and Vinyl, including Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Best New Artist of the Year, and more. Learn more

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Total price: CDN$ 34.07
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Nov. 2 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • ASIN: B00002JXF8
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 352 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,088 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Hanginaround
2. Mrs. Potter's Lullaby
3. Amy Hit The Atmosphere
4. Four Days
5. All My Friends
6. High Life
7. Colorblind
8. I Wish I Was A Girl
9. Speedway
10. St. Robinson In His Cadillac Dream

Product Description

Product Description

All Songs Were Written By The Band. Produced By David Lowery (Sparklehorse) & David Herring (Throwing Muses.) Includes Extra Track Not On the US Version.


Two years in the making, This Desert Life is the kind of collection that will please the Counting Crows faithful and leave doubters unconverted. Adam Duritz's recognisably emotive vocals and the group's classic-rock stylings remain in the fore as the Crows stick near the nest with their third studio outing. The Mellencamp-like opener, "Hanginaround", is one of the strongest tunes here, thanks to its laid-back passion and catchy piano and percussive elements. The familiar feeling "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby" is another lively offering, but at nearly eight minutes it's too long. The emotional, Van Morrison-like lament "All My Friends" feels self-pitying, while the balance of the album is simply bland. The sound is appealing (witness the spare "Colorblind" and the waltzing "Amy Hit the Atmosphere"), but This Desert Life is, on the whole, rather dry. --Katherine Turman

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I guess making comparisons is probably pointless, anyway... _August_ is undoubtedly a fine album, but some of its key tracks have been played to the point of meaninglessness, and at this point, it reminds me a little too much of 1994. Still, whenever I hear this band I think how lucky we all were that it came out at that time, when radio programmers were desperately searching for things that sounded "alternative" (i.e. not hair metal or 80's pop). Bands like Counting Crows and Soul Asylum managed to squeeeze throught the door along with the grungers.
_Recovering the Satellites_ was inconsistent, and not helped by its production, which tried a little too hard to sound like the music of its day. On _This Desert Life_, you get a sense that the band relaxed, took its time, and really got it right. Top to bottom, there isn't a bad song on the album, and it's beautifully performed and recorded.
"Hanginaround" kicks things off joyously - a classic single which returned the band to the charts in defiance of changing times. Then, knowing they've got your ears, the band lays down another ace, heading directly into "Mrs. Potter's Lullabye". Over the span of eight minutes, Adam Duritz runs through a typical laundry list of concerns: the ghosts (and circus animals) in his head, his latest crush, and the possible futility of making music (and indeed, life itself). The song's energy never flags and it never meanders; the band plays its dynamics well, and builds momentum with each succeeding verse. Those who say it's too long need to either take some Ritalin or check their pulses.
Some of the album's other highlights inlude "Four Days", a near- Byrds homage with Rickenbacker and chromatic harmonies...
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Format: Audio CD
You know the familiar refrains: "It's too whiny." "I don't want to hear about Adam Duritz's problems with fame." Both are very valid reasons for disliking the Crows, but, all that aside, it's hard to deny that the band makes quality music, with Adam Duritz contributing pretty great lyrics, whether or not they bug you is a matter of personal preference.
"This Desert Life", while not as emotionally powerful as "August and Everything After", or as resonant as the high points of "Recovering the Satellites", it is, for my money, the most consistant and complete statement the Crows have made thus far. The guys also get high marks from me for not falling into the "too-long album" curse that plagues a lot of bands these days. 10 concise songs (11 counting a hidden track), none of which sound like the others, topped off by beautiful, rootsy production. The high points? The bouncy "Hanginaround", which opens the album; "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby", a song of love to a movie star that feels almost cinematic in its scope; "I Wish I Was a Girl" an interesting gender flip that features a nice, swirling, psychedelic arrangement, which makes it feel nothing like anything else in the Crows catelogue.
On the whole, it's a memorable album that should grow more appreciated with time.
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Format: Audio CD
I enjoyed CC's debut (August & Everything After) so much that I didn't buy their next efforts because I didn't think they could match it and because the critics told me they hadn't. I'm glad to say both the critics and I were wrong.
Simply put, This Desert Life is FUN--great for driving on a sunny afternoon with the windows down or brightening up your office on an endless workday. Although they wouldn't be the Crows without some angst ("Colorblind") or laid-back contemplation that revolves around a woman ("Amy hit the atmosphere"), they let loose and groove here, from the handclapping of "Hangin' around" to the flow of "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby" (strong enough, with Adam Duritz's always-engaging lyrics, to carry it through almost 8 minutes) to the nice finale of "St. Robinson"--well, almost finale. If you keep the last track playing until the 8:40 mark, you'll be treated to an all-out jam, followed by the band cutting up in the studio.
Although I still hold "August" in the highest regard, this is a worthy companion. (After all, despite its wonderful, fresh energy and high points--"Rain King" and "Murder of One"--August has some weak and gloomy tracks. Track for track, Desert is a more solid, even effort--and both, fyi, are better than Recovering the Satellites.) A recommended 4-star effort.
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Format: Audio CD
This album has got to the most overlooked and underrated Crows album to date. Its easy to overlook (or criticize to death) this album, coming between the sophomore slump-killing Recovering the Satellites and the phenomenal Hard Candy. This almost always happens. When an artist beats the sophomore slump the third album is universally panned by critics. What up? Why? This is a beautiful and delicate and satisfying record. Give it a chance. And speaking of third album critic auto-abortions, check out Smash Mouth's self-titled third. Its great too.
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Format: Audio CD
Here the Crows have made the fatal mistake of mixing some of heir best work with some surreal attempts which sometimes come out as pretention.
I have been a fan of Counting Crows for years and years now, ever since their first album was released and captured me!
This album is an example of bold musical creation, but on which leaves you ultimately unfufilled at the end.
It is difficult to choose the excellent tracks on this album, for they all have their charm, however there are doubtless tracks which stand out as exceptional. These include:
Hangin Around - a catchy, rocky song based around a jolly riff
Mrs. Potter's Lullaby - An excellent American folk sounding tune; pure brilliance in lyrics and music
Colourblind - One of the most famous Crows' tunes; a piano classic with haunting vocals - excellent
St.Robinson - Another surreal, catchy piece withy insiteful lyrics
However, these excellent songs are dragged down by some of the poorer elements of the album, forcing me to drop the rating slightly.
These include All My Friends, High Life and the bonus track. Though good tunes in themselves, they are not what I am used to from such a talented group.
In conclusion, if I could give this album a star-rating, it would be three and a half; but despite the excellent songs (and the lack of half star rating!)I am forced to give four stars. An excellent album with some of their best tunes, but you have to be prepared to accept some of their poorer work as well, in addition to only a ten-track album (11 including the additional hidden track however)
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