Wednesday Flashback: August and Everything After

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I struggled to think of a way to start this second installment of our Wednesday Flashback without gushing, but then I remembered that the point of Wednesday Flashback IS to gush over the work we're presenting you. For those just joining us, Wednesday Flashback is a weekly blog that acts as a review, of sorts, for albums that influenced members of the Mid-Life Geek crew in the past. This week I decided to "Flashback" what very well may be my personal favorite album of all time: August and Everything After by Counting Crows. And now, onto the aforementioned gushing.

Now, August and Everything After was first released in 1993, back when I was a fan of Jurassic Park, the Power Rangers, and was really far too young to be interested in music on any deep level, much less something like this album. No, it was not until a decade later that I really "discovered" this album, when I was a year or so into High School and had gained a heightened awareness of my world. I think I'll attribute it to good parenting that a lost, confused, bullied (verbally and not physically at this point, mind you) and depressed teenager would become a fan of Counting Crows, Bareneaked Ladies, and Green Day over pop music or the crap that people my age were listening to. Really, I guess you could say that those bands, and especially Counting Crows, shaped my taste in music in general. Music was expressive, it was meaningful; it captured the very whirlwind of my emotions, positive and negative, in its synergy of poetry, music, and presentation. And I loved it.

Why did August and Everything After resonate so deeply with me at 15? August and Everything After deals with a lot of issues, to be sure, some of which (like cheating on your spouse, for example) I was still to young to connect with, but ultimately the album is about self-reflection and what it feels like to be directionless and lost in yourself and the world. I think the very first lines of the first song on the album sum it up better than I can now:
"I step out the front door like a ghost into a fog
Where no one notices the contrast of white on white
And in between the moon and you
The angels get a better view
Of the crumbing difference between wrong and right
I walk in the air, between the rain
Through myself and back again
Where? I don't know"
For a kid like me, living in middle-of-nowhere Wyoming with absolutely no idea where or what his life was building to, August and Everything was an album that gave me voice. But more than that, it reminded me that even if I couldn't see what was ahead, there was in fact more to life than what a 15 year old in small-town America could know.

Here is the rather odd music video for Round Here, Enjoy!


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