Tuesday, November 8, 2011


            If you were to look at my iTunes, you would realize pretty quickly that my 47 most-played songs are all by the Counting Crows. Say what you will, but I believe Adam Duritz is a lyrical genius and a true poet. Most people only know Mr. Jones or A Long December, but I really enjoy their music that never quite made it mainstream as well. Recently I’ve been listening to the song Miami a lot and thought I’d make a topic out of it.

You can listen to it here, but the lyrics are below:

I guess I think I feel alright
You come circling through the light
The skyline, baby, is bright tonight
What more perfect rendezvous?
The sundown paints the shadows
Through the daylight, Amy, on what we do

It looks like darkness to me
Oh, Drifting down into Miami

Can I say,
"I wish that this weather would never leave?"
It just gets hard to believe
That God sent this angel to watch over me
Cause my angel
She don't receive my calls
Says I'm too dumb to fuck
Too dumb to fight
Too dumb to save
Well, maybe, I don't need no angel at all

It looks like darkness to me
Drifting down into Miami
She could pull the sunlight through me
Coming down into Miami

Make a circle in the sand
Make a halo with your hand
I'll make a place for you to land

The bus is running
It's time to leave
This summer's gone
And so are we
So come on baby,
Let's go shut it down in New Orleans

            I know a little more about the Counting Crows than most, so I’ll give a quick overview of this song. It was written in the airport as Duritz was waiting on his girlfriend, Amy, to land. They both knew she was making the trip to break up with him, and this is the song that resulted.
            The most fascinating thing for me about this song is the number of different ways this song can be interpreted. Obviously the literal interpretation is fairly clear. One of the more interesting perspectives I think, however, is that Miami is not a physical location but a mindset, more specifically depression. The hesitation in the first line and the underlying sarcasm in the fourth were what cued me in to the idea first, but the second verse and the motif of darkness were what really brought it home for me.
            You could make a pretty waterproof argument that waiting for your girlfriend to break up with you and depression are pretty similar emotions, but for me at least the latter has a much darker side that a simple break up can’t touch. Being able to see both so vividly in one song is quite interesting. Hope you enjoyed it.
     Here's to wonderful music and great lyrics.

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