Marriage Albums: Counting Melons

Since my "Albums I Grew Up On" series has been on creative hiatus since last June, I've been thinking for a while about spotlighting music that has defined my marriage years. Kristen and I have been hitched since 2004, but these inaugural selections were actually released back in 1992-93.

Counting Crows:
August and Everything After

August and Everything After received plenty of spins in my CD player when I was in junior high, but as the decade progressed, Counting Crows faded from the rotation. I eventually traded in my disc at the old Tom Tom Music store in Bountiful (probably for something like The Best of A Flock of Seagulls during a prolonged '80s kick).

As I started making the switch from CDs to mp3s in the early 2000s, a lot of old albums that had suffered the "trade in" fate made a triumphant return to my collection, including August and Everything After. A quintessential "sad album," the Counting Crows' debut includes several big hits like "Mr. Jones" and "Round Here," and a plethora of lesser known gems like "Anna Begins" and "Sullivan Street."

However, it didn't become a defining album for us until Kristen got a hold of it, not long after we moved from Logan to Salt Lake in 2005. For the better part of the year that followed, every time I got in the car after she had been driving, Counting Crows would be on. In those "educational" early years of marriage, it taught me something important about her. When she finds something she likes, she clings to it like a warm blanket—whether it be the bubbly tingle of Dr. Pepper, the romantic misunderstandings of Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennett, or the plaintive melodies of Adam Duritz and co.

Blind Melon

There was no escaping Blind Melon's hit single "No Rain" back in the early '90s—not that this pleasant little pop folk ditty needed escaping from. I always liked the song and occasionally considered adding some Blind Melon to my collection but never did (it would have gotten swapped for Wang Chung's Greatest Hits anyway). Tragically, Blind Melon vocalist Shannon Hoon died of a drug overdose a few months after their second album Soup was released in 1995, and the band disintegrated before they could shed one-hit wonder status.

When Kristen and I began comparing music collections as we were dating, "No Rain" was among the common threads. Now, here's where the story starts to get obscure. In late 2006, I unearthed a compilation at the local library featuring prominent '90s bands covering songs from Schoolhouse Rock. The unquestionable standout of the collection was Blind Melon's take on "Three is a Magic Number." In our book, this band was now 2-for-2, so we got to wondering if their other stuff was just as good.

We soon checked out their eponymous debut (some 14 years after it was released), and in the process discovered one of the most criminally underrated albums of the '90s. As with a lot of one-hit wonders, the easygoing "No Rain" is something of an anomaly within the fabric of the album. Brimming with deep cuts like "Tones of Home" and "Change" (really I could list every song), Blind Melon is equal parts aggressive, groovy, introspective, and psychedelic. But pop culture never got past that bee girl.

1 comment:

Krissy said...

I do love me some Counting Crows, it is true. But after seeing Adam Duritz' dance moves and fringy jacket, I would not mind never seeing that video again.