In a decade infamous for songwriters who laughably overreached in their attempts to craft earnest, deep, clever or otherwise emotionally resonant lyrics, Adam Duritz is in a class by himself. Even with stiff competition from the Edwin McCains and Jakob Dylans of the world, Duritz is the undisputed king of melancholy hyperbole, filling the Counting Crows debut album, August and Everything After, with heavy-handed metaphors and imagery so intentionally morose it borders on satire.
But at the end of the day, does it really matter that I want to grab and shake anyone who can sing along to a line like “gray is my favorite color” without pausing to acknowledge how ridiculously over-the-top it is? Counting Crows have sold over 20 million albums worldwide and Adam Duritz managed to bed a murder’s row of famous starlets including Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Monica Potter, Nicole Kidman, Winona Ryder, Samantha Mathis and Emmy Rossum (and all during each lady’s prime, mind you).
Most musicians don’t have either the talent or the ambition to create anything transformative, and the best they can hope for is the opportunity to make a decent living pursuing their artistic inclinations and, of course, to get chicks. By these perfectly noble and respectable standards, a decent argument can be made that Adam Duritz is the most successful musician to emerge in the 1990s.