Essential Songs of the '90s: "A Long December" by Counting Crows

Posted by Miserable Retail Slave on December 15, 2009 at 9:34 PM

by RFP

  1. I mean, now is the obvious time for this one, right? (Note for the dense: Because it's December).
  2. From the Crows' sophomore album, Recovering the Satellites (1996).
  3. The music video featured Courtney Cox.
  4. The last time Courtney Cox had been in a music video was Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark," in which Bruce pulled her on stage and they danced a ridiculous little jig.
  5. She turned this exposure into a role in the He-Man movie with Dolph Lundgren. That's success.
  6. Fact: Lead singer Adam Duritz dated 2/3 of the female cast of Friends,
  7. Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston.
  8. This was back when Friends was the hottest show on Earth and Cox and Anniston were the hottest women on Earth.
  9. Fact: This makes Adam Duritz 1997's LUCKIEST MAN EVER,
  10. On the media's reaction to him always dating hot actresses: "It's always set up as 'How does that fat fuck always get all these women?' "
  11. "There are so many phrases that have become idiomatic because they are so used--they go in one ear and out the other.But if you tell someone something in a smaller way, in between the lines is where all that feeling is. In "A Long December:" "All at once you look across a crowded room / and see the way that light attaches to a girl." You know how that guy feels about that girl at that moment.You don't have to say, "She takes my breath away," or all these things that you've heard. Rather than say that she takes my breath away I'd rather explain that I can't breathe." - Adam Duritz
  12. That's how he gets the ladies. Adam Duritz can spit some game.
  13. Back when I used to sing karaoke on a regular basis, I made sure to sing this song at least once in December, hoping the crowd would appreciate the irony.
  14. In retrospect, this probably made me more of a douche than anything.
  15. Fact that ruins Adam Duritz's street cred: He wrote three songs for the fictional band Josie and the Pussycats to sing in the live action movie of the same name.
  16. From VH1 Storytellers: "In the middle of December of ‘95 my friend Jennifer got run over by a car, and just creamed; and I spent that whole month, while we were just beginning the record and most of Jan & Feb in the day I just left the studio about 2 in the morning, and I went to my friend Samantha and Tracy's house which is Hillside Manor; and uh.. That's what we call it anyway, it's just a little house and I sat there talking with them, I woke ‘em up, got ‘em out of bed and made ‘em talk to me for a couple hours, then I went home to my house. And I wrote this song between about 4 and 6 and then went to the hospital the next day"
  17. For the record, his "friend Jennifer" is not Jennifer Anniston.
  18. Because, as far as I know, she never got creamed by a car.
  19. If you paid attention to Duritz's quote from Storytellers and know some of the lyrics from A Long December, some things should jump out at you.
  20. Let me break it down for you.
  21. Lyric: "the smell of hospitals in winter" = Adam visiting his friend in the hospital
  22. Lyric: "Drove up to Hillside Manor, sometime after 2 am and talked a little while about the year" = going to his friend's place (which they had named Hillside Manor) and talked about life with them.
  23. In 2005, Dead and Dreaming: An Indie Tribute to The Counting Crows was released by Victory Records with Bayside contributing a cover of "A Long December".
  24. It's not as good as the original.
  25. Hearing "A Long December" always reminds me of winter and, believe it or not, the month of December.
  26. No shit, right?
  27. Like, obviously, it's not going to remind you of May is it?
  28. First of all, songs can remind everyone of different things. I'm sure that somebody somewhere heard this song some balmy May night and it's forever associated with that night or that girl or that movie. Whatever.
  29. The line: "A long December and there's reason to believe/ Maybe this year will be better than the last" is what does it.
  30. For me, December seems to just drag on. All the holidays and the spending and the crowds and all the irrelevant bullshit and unnecessary stress that comes along with Christmas just make December seem like a burden.
  31. It shouldn't be that way, I know. 
  32. Anyway, by mid-December, I just can't wait to get to January 1. 
  33. Whenever the new year comes, I always look at it as a blank slate. A chance to start over. Every year I promise myself to take chances, to make changes for the better.
  34. Not really New Year's resolutions. But personal goals.
  35. I started off strong this year, but as is often the case, life got in the way.
  36. So at the stroke of midnight, as December 31 dies and January 1 is born, I always think to myself: "Maybe this year will be better than the last."
  37. Because the possibility is there. This could be the year everything falls into place.
  38. Damn. 
  39. It got serious there for a minute.
  40. More on the song, straight from the Duritz's mouth (also from Storytellers): "Like the guy says in "A Long December": "And there's a reason to believe/ Maybe this year will be better than the last/ I can't remember the last thing you said as you were leavin'/ Now the days go by so fast." That's me in a nutshell--people leaving, me leaving, days going past.
  41. "By the end of the song, what he says is "I can't remember all the times I tried to tell myself/ To hold on to these moments as they pass." You have to remember to hold on to these moments. Life can be flashing moments that pass by you and add up to nothing, or they can be things that you keep and cherish."
  42. "Loss doesn't mean gone forever: you have your memories. The things you lose don't have to be such ghosts as we always make them out to be. They can be memories that we can keep--especially me, since I get to write songs about them."
  43. That Duritz is a deep man. I think I would date him at this point. I like that quote a lot.
  44. The things you lose don't have to be such ghosts as we always make them out to be.
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1 Comment

Reply Paulie Walnuts
2:05 AM on December 16, 2009 
My favorite all-time RFP post. This song just takes me places. And...the ghosts quote reminds me of Mrs. Potter's Lullaby, another great Counting Crows track off This Desert Life.