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Hard Candy

Hard Candy

4.7 20
by Counting Crows

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From the breezy melodies of their fourth studio album, it might seem like Counting Crows' notoriously mopey frontman, Adam Duritz, has learned to stop worrying and go with life's flow. But listen deeper, as this poetic and captivating disc demands, and you'll hear otherwise. This Hard Candy is tough to swallow, even if the strains are sweeter than anything the


From the breezy melodies of their fourth studio album, it might seem like Counting Crows' notoriously mopey frontman, Adam Duritz, has learned to stop worrying and go with life's flow. But listen deeper, as this poetic and captivating disc demands, and you'll hear otherwise. This Hard Candy is tough to swallow, even if the strains are sweeter than anything the band has produced to date. Duritz is every bit as neurotic and oddly captivating a presence as ever: There's no mistaking the bleak melodrama that seeps from every corner of a song like "If I Could Give All My Love (Richard Manuel Is Dead)," an appropriately windswept tune written in tribute to the Band pianist who committed suicide more than a decade ago. But elsewhere, the tonal palette expands to include brighter colors, most obviously on the wry "American Girls" and "Butterfly in Reverse," a grandly scaled song that evokes images of Van Dyke Parks putting the finishing touches on a vintage Beach Boys track. Rather than fly off in search of uncharted territory -- a habit that made their last couple of albums hit-and-miss affairs -- the Crows stay closer to home here, concentrating on lush, 12-string-saturated instrumentation and vivid imagery, most in evidence on the one-two geographic punch of "Goodnight LA" and "Miami." Hard Candy is a bittersweet yet energizing treat.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Hard Candy is the sound of a band at a creative and poetic summit. Over three previous studio recordings, Counting Crows have moved through varied musical territories as a way of conveying emotion through performance, texture, and nuance, the place where the mood meets the heart meets the mind. Hard Candy is both a radical departure from the band's previous method of recording, and contextually an affirmation of what sets them apart from virtually every other band on the rock & roll scene: their commitment to songwriting as craft. These 13 tracks are strongly committed to conveying a song in the hook rather than in the lyric. They are tight, crisp, and razor-sharp pop songs on a bright, shiny, rock record. Every backing vocal, every lilting string, trumpet line, or piano run, was meticulously crafted and scripted into this invigorating musical architecture -- and lyrically, Adam Duritz offers at least as much as he's given on any other album. The set opens with the title track, a wide-open 4/4 rocker illustrated by shimmering piano lines and ringing Byrds-like 12-string electric guitars punching up the middle. Duritz sings with an Allen Ginsberg-like heroic candor: "On certain Sundays in November when the weather bothers me/I empty drawers of other summers/where my shadows used to be...You send your lover off to China and you wait for her to call/You put your girl up on a pedestal and you wait for her to fall/I put my summers back in a letter/All the regrets you can't forget are somehow pressed upon a picture in the face of such an ordinary girl." These lines reflect the entwined themes that run through virtually every song on the record: memory, the regret of loss due to ignorance, and pervasive loneliness in everyday life. Even the humorous songs here, such as the first single, "American Girls," offer candid meditations on these subjects. Other tracks, such as "Butterfly Reverse," co-written with Ryan Adams, offer stunningly textured instrumentation and wondrously pastoral pop melodies accented by a grand piano holding the middle against a huge wash of fawning strings and rim shots as the lyrics drip like dirty rainwater into a puddle in the middle of the street. Ultimately, this record, with its many seeming aberrations, will no doubt attract new fans without alienating the old. These 13 stories are as wondrously accessible in their sheeny glory, yet as moving and profound as anything pop music has to offer.

Product Details

Release Date:
Geffen Records


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Counting Crows   Primary Artist,Background Vocals
Matthew Sweet   Background Vocals
Sheryl Crow   Background Vocals
Jacqueline Brand   Violin,Group Member
Carole Castillo   Viola,Group Member
Brian Dembow   Viola,Group Member
Stephen Erdody   Cello,Group Member
Richard Feves   Bass,Group Member
Charlie Gillingham   Synthesizer,Piano,Oboe,Hammond Organ,Vocals,Mellotron,chamberlain,Omnichord,fender rhodes,Wurlitzer,Tack Piano,Group Member
Alan Grunfeld   Violin,Group Member
Jerry Hey   Conductor,Flugelhorn
Paula Hochhalter   Cello
David Immerglück   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Slide Guitar,Electric Sitar,Group Member
Ethan Johns   Percussion,Conga
Edward Meares   Bass,Group Member
Ben Mize   Percussion,Drums,Vocals,Loops,Group Member
Robin Olson   Violin,Group Member
Katia Popov   Violin,Group Member
Tina Soule   Cello,Group Member
Cecilia Tsan   Cello,Group Member
Josefina Vergara   Violin,Group Member
Adam Duritz   Piano,Vocals,Group Member
John Scanlon   Viola,Group Member
Dan Vickrey   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Matt Malley   Bass Guitar,Vocals,Upright Bass
Natalie Leggett   Violin
Alan Mautner   Violin,Group Member
Ryan Adams   Background Vocals
Dave Gibbs   Background Vocals
Dave Bryson   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Group Member
Leona Naess   Background Vocals
Karen Jones   Violin,Group Member
Mario de León   Violin,Group Member
Ralph Morrison   Violin,Concert Master,Group Member
Sarah Parkins   Violin

Technical Credits

Joni Mitchell   Composer
Counting Crows   Producer
Ron Fair   Arranger,Producer,String Arrangements,String Conductor
Gary Gersh   Executive Producer
Charlie Gillingham   Composer,Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Jerry Hey   Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements,Horn Conductor,String Conductor
Steve Holroyd   Engineer
David Immerglück   Composer
Ethan Johns   Producer
Steve Lillywhite   Producer
Brian Vibberts   Engineer
Adam Duritz   Composer,Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements,String Samples
Carl Glanville   Producer,Engineer
Donal Hodgson   Engineer
Krish Sharma   Engineer
Dan Vickrey   Composer
Matt Malley   Composer
Stephen Harris   Engineer
Steven Rhodes   Engineer
Jordan Schur   Executive Producer
Joe Zook   Engineer
Ryan Adams   Composer
Bill Thomson   Studio Manager
Liam Ward   Art Direction
Dave Bryson   Engineer
Tal Herzberg   Arranger,Programming,Engineer

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Hard Candy [Bonus Track] 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Counting Crows has succeeded in produced an amazingly simplistic album, all the while keeping with their typical Crows style. The album begins with the upbeat melodies such as ''Hard Candy'' and ''American Girls'' which lead to the more nostalgic songs on the record such as ''Butterfly in Reverse.'' This song is my personal favorite because of it's intriguing melody laced with beautiful lyrics ''...click your heels and count back from three do you wanna go back? you should have know that the butterfly in reverse here is me..'' Once again, Adam Duritz has outdone himself
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although ''August & Everything After'' was amazing, this album lived up to it very nicely. While still keeping their style, the Counting Crows created a new sound and its surprisingly similar to some of the tracks on previous albums. I love this CD and admire the way this album, along with all the others, truley reflects the artists lives, moods, and experiences. This genre of music is genious and unique and should never be underrated.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've never been a big fan of Counting Crows - not because of dislike,but because i've never really heard much of their stuff besides a few past hit singles- But i happened to read several great reviews on their latest work "Hard Candy",and since i'm a fan of ANY good music no matter what the genre,i decided to go out and buy it. After the first listen through the entire album,i was very satisfied and knew it would only get better hearing it again...and it has! Just about every song on this CD is great and the guitar work is also excellent. But one of the tracks is not even listed -- it plays about a minute after song #13 ends...why they chose to not list it is beyond me,because it is one of the best on the CD! Some people have said that this album sounds like all their previous records,but who cares - good music is good music. And if it really does sound like all their old CD's,then i need to go out and buy them when i get a chance because this is truly good quality music. Highly recommended!
Guest More than 1 year ago
...then you'll love this. The music is a bit more plain than on the other albums, however it gives more space and support the fantastic lyrics. Each song makes a mark in you hearth and gives you something to thing about. If you like analysing and listen to songs this album is fantastic, but if you just wanna swing to music; don't buy this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I haven't bought this album yet but I plan to immediately when I get off work. I have been in love with this band ever since I saw Adam Duritz on my TV ten years ago shaking his dreadlocks to Mr. Jones. I think that this band is so underrated...the lyrics in their songs...the words that Adam spouts in his songs have continually left me captivated in awe. How can one use ordinary words to convey such deep wrenching emotions. I can't wait to get this album. This man Adam Duritz is pure genius.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Counting Crows have added another step to their rich and varied progression. This album is the most refined album, musically, that they've produced, and Adam Durtitz's poetry will haunt you long after the album ends. Absolutely Amazing!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This new CD from the Crows really tells the downsides to life in a poetic and sensitive way, but also tells how life is great and full of things you should live for. This poetic and moving CD will get you listening to it for hours, days, months, even years.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Counting Crows have quietly gone about creating some of the finest music of their generation. After the amazing energy of 'Recovering The Satelites' and the poignant 'This Desert Life',I was prepared for an inevitable fall-off. But somehow they have maintained the same consistently fresh, creative level of their past successes. These guys are the real thing, I just hope somebody notices.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This cd is amazing. Buttery in reverse is great. The crows reallyed stepped it up with this album
Guest More than 1 year ago
I wrote 'come back' as I thought they were a little lost in This Desert Life.Hard Candy is by far, 'the album' of the year, songwise and lyricswise. All the 13 tracks are really a treat for Crows' die hard fan like myself, and the new ones who would like to break away from all the 'Pop'.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD is not merely an exercise in great music, but a tribute to the band's many musical influences. Listen carefully for tributes and musical nods to The Gin Blossoms, Dave Mathews, The Eagles, CSN,The Band, Brian Wilson, and other Rock Icons. A gem!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love their cd but I hope they don't get too mainstreamish. I hope they don't end up turning into a pop group!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Counting Crows have outdone themselves again. Anyone who's ever loved someone or experienced a carefree, romantic summer will love this album. Hell, anyone who has a heart will love this album. If the Crows can make their next album better than this one, it will be a miracle among miracles. Hard Candy, American Girls, Good Time, If I Could Give All My Love, Goodnight LA, Butterfly in Reverse, and Holiday in Spain are some of the most amazing songs I've ever heard. They also do an outstanding job on the bonus track, a cover of Joni Mitchell's ''Paved Paradise and Put Up a Parking Lot.''
Guest More than 1 year ago
Even though you can never top ''August and Everything After,'' this is a really great CD. It takes a little while to get into it, but songs like Miami and Holiday in Spain are really good. Buy it now, you won't regret it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
the counting crows have done it again. this cd is their best yet. if you like good music, you will love this cd.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it`s as good as recovering the satillite (WHICH I THINK IS THE BEST RECORD OF ALL TIME).i would like to put adam in the same class as dylan ,but adam can`t produce enough music. it takes them 4 years between albums which is not enough to feed a true crow`s fan . great work crows see you in 2005
Guest More than 1 year ago
Listening to this album I think back to the Zeppelin albums of the 70's. So many different styles of songs all together in one, yet it all flows. This is an excellent album with something for everyone. Pop, Rock, Beatle-esqe songs, country twings, 80's, 70's funk. It has it all. Just goes to prove that the Counting Crows are the best band going Today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing album. Not only will die hard Crows fans, such as myself, be impressed, new fans will be drawn in by this album, as they were to Recovering the Satellites, more than they were to This Desert Life. On this album, the band continues a journey from the folksy rock of their first album, August and Everything After, towards a more classic rock sound. Really an album that can't be classified under a specific genre just because its so unlike any others out there. A must-have for anyone who likes CC and anyone who enjoys good honest music.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hard Candy proves its title being both fleeting and foolish. If you want Counting Crows, see 'August and Everything After' and 'Recovering the Satellites.' Otherwise don't bother. The band showed it was straying with 'This Desert Life' and has now proved that it is too far away from what made the band special to begin with. A large part of what made the Counting Crows great was Adam Duritz' lyrics. Hard Candy gives us glimpses at what made Duritz a great poet (see 'Black and Blue') but mostly reveals that he has lost whatever handle he ever had on the english language. 'Holiday in Spain' for instance, a mediocre song to begin with, is made ridiculous by the lines, ''Hop on my choo-choo/I'll be your engine driver in a bunny suit.'' The music, normally shaping and guiding the lyrics, at points on this album are laughable, literally. 'Why Should You Come When I Call' has harmonies that were laughed out loud at among the crowd I first listened to the album with. The rest of the album is overproduced and disjointed. What happened to the days of, ''All of a sudden she disappeared/Just yesterday she was here''?