They’re not the best band of the 90s. Adam Duritz is not the best lyricist. He doesn’t have the best voice. His band is not comprised of the best musicians.
That being said, Counting Crows are the best “drive your car down the highway trying to figure out why the girl left you and what’s wrong with your life and what to do about it all” band.
Something about cruising down the freeway listening to “August And Everything After” makes pain and heartbreak a little easier to understand.
To put it simply, the music of Counting Crows has a way of making you feel a little better about the things that make you sad.
This week Counting Crows released their latest album “Somewhere Under Wonderland”. I’ve been playing it nonstop, remembering how I fell in love with their music in the first place.
I discovered Counting Crows in middle school (the 3 saddest years of any teenager’s life). I liked their music at first but I didn’t love it.
Counting Crows didn’t really start to make sense to me until I got my driver’s license. On the late nights driving home from friends houses I’d crank up songs like “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” and “Up All Night” and ponder the relationships I had and the ones I never would. The sad songs said so much, making sense to 21-year-old me in a way 13-year-old me couldn’t grasp.
Sometimes good music takes time to be truly appreciated. You have to lock yourself in the car with it, volume and windows up, letting the sound encompass you and your emotions.
The music which speaks to our hearts doesn’t always make sense at first. Some of the best albums don’t jump out to you until the 5th or 6th or 7th time you listen to them.
I think the Bible is a lot like this type of album.
There’s a tendency to want to understand the Bible in one simple reading. I do it all the time, breezing through a few chapters in a rushed morning quiet time, going for quantity of consumption rather than quality, praying a verse or two will stick with me at least until lunchtime.
I treat the Bible like a pop song – halfway paying attention to the lyrics and enjoying the melody momentarily as it slips in and out of brain ever so briefly.
It isn’t until I lock the doors and sit and wrestle with the scriptures that they start to make any sense at all. The moments I really move forward with God are the moments when I pour over a verse or a passage. The moments when I pray with my emotions and not just a routine. The moments when I write from the heart and not just to hit a goal.
The Bible is not a pop song. The Bible is more like a Counting Crows song.
It is emotional and lyrical and painful and intricately beautiful. It is complex and layered and poetic in a way that doesn’t always rhyme.
And if you really want to understand The Bible you can’t just treat it like a pop song. You can’t just leave it on in the background as you bob your head to the beat while you try to get on with your life.
If you really want to understand the Bible, treat it like a classic album: lock the doors, turn up the volume, and take it out for a drive.
But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)