For their second album, Recovering the Satellites, Counting Crows crafted a self-consciously challenging response to their unexpected success. Throughout the record, Adam Duritz contemplates his loss of privacy and sudden change of fortunes, among other angst-ridden subjects. In one sense, it's no different from the subjects that dominated August and Everything After, yet his outlook is lacking the muted joy that made "Mr. Jones" into a hit. Similarly, the music is slightly more somber, yet the approach is harder and more direct, which gives even the ballads a more affecting, visceral feel. Recovering the Satellites occasionally bogs down in its own pretentiousness -- for a roots rock band, the group certainly has a lot of artsy goals -- yet when they scale back their ambitions to simple folk-rock, such as on the single "A Long December," they are at their most articulate.
Recovering the Satellites Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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