Very recently I’ve been had some musical nostalgia, if you will. At a young age I remember spending time in my basement, playing around with a boom box (it was the nineties after all) that we had down there. Sometimes I’d listen to Yankee games on the radio, sometimes children’s stories on tape andsometimes I’d pull down the albums my parents seemed to have a particular affinity to.
I don’t know what drove me to listen to the Counting Crows. The only upbeat song on their entire first album, August and Everything After, is their most recognizable song (“Mr. Jones”) yet it was the song “Round Here” that my parents refused to play on repeat for me and I know I didn’t get what they were singing about back then because I’m only getting the faintest inkling of understanding today. And in spite of what may have driven me to the contrary, I listened to this album backwards and forwards more time before I was out of elementary school than most Counting Crows fans will listen to it in their lifetime. Every once in a while, I’ll (metaphorically) pull out this album and play it and pick up pieces of my childhood.
This one I don’t think my parents really listened to but I still picked it up anyway because I thought listening to Billy Joel would make me cool. I liked how it sounded punk and the front cover was pretty bad ass for a 8 year old. Whereas with the Counting Crows I go back and discover something new, I never really went back with this album. Until recently, of course. And I was surprised that it wasn’t what I had remembered it to be. Since my younger days, I’ve listened to pretty much all other Billy Joel albums, from the ballad heavy Cold Spring Harbor and Piano Man to the more thoughtful River of Dreams and I had assumed it just naturally fell as part of a progression. But it’s not. I didn’t realize how much more of a punk album it is than any of his other stuff, with Joel’s lead piano focused mainly on rhythm or left out all together. It’s worth a listen, even if you don’t like Joel, because it’s something different.