Wednesday, December 15, 2010

" A Long December" - The Counting Crows

Well I've decided to blog about this song for a pretty lame reason - it's December. As much as I dislike the winter months, December is an exception. December is "Christmas Month". This means everyone is happy because they are shopping, getting/giving gifts, eating good food and drinking their faces off. As lame as it sounds I like December quite a bit because I know in addition to all of the aforementioned things it also means getting to spend a lot of time with my family and friends. I feel truly blessed because I have a huge extended family and a group of amazing friends. All of the good things December brings make it a bit easier to tolerate the bitter, cold weather and short, gloomy days. 

December being the last month of the year is usually a time for people to reflect. To think about their past year and make their resolutions for the "New" year. I can honestly say that this past year for me has been one of the hardest and one of the best years of my life. My last long term relationship ended last winter and dealing with something like that is always difficult. He was my rock and I thought that I would fall apart without him. As hard as it was to pick up the pieces I know that I am stronger and better for it. I made a resolution to myself that I would stay single for awhile, and really focus on myself. It is amazing the things you can accomplish when you don't have anyone to rely on or worry about but yourself. I made a whole group of new friends and met so many incredible people. I made much more time for my family. I worked towards and achieved a promotion at my job. I traveled to several new places. I pursued a bizarre new combination of hobbies like belly dancing, shooting and blogging. I renewed my passion for old hobbies, like guitar, photography and piano. They say "You don't know what you have until it's gone", but for me it was losing something that made me realize what I didn't have. So yes, I lost a boyfriend, but I gained me. Do yourself a favor and look back on your year. If you're anything like me you probably don't even realize how lucky you are until you write it all down.

Now I'm sure you know this song, I would think most people do. "A Long December", is a slow kind of melancholy song, but if you listen to the lyrics it's a song about hope, not sadness. The lead singer of the Counting Crows, Adam Duritz, has the soul of a poet. This is obvious even through the history of the band's name. The name was derived from a divination rhyme Duritz heard in the movie "Signs of Life" The band actually uses the rhyme in their song "A Murder of One".  FYI a "Murder" is the word that describes a group of crows. Nice Pun Duritz. 

"Well I dreamt I saw you walking up a hillside in the snow / Casting shadows on the winter sky as you stood there, counting crows / One for sorrow, two for joy / Three for girls and four for boys / Five for silver, six for gold / Seven for a secret never to be told.".

 In the UK the rhyme is well known but uses magpies instead of crows. It's a superstition that if you see a single magpie you should greet it to deflect the "sorrow".

Duritz has stated that he wrote the song after a friend of his (rumored ex-girlfriend) was hit by a car. Counting Crows were in the middle of recording an album and Duritz spent all of December and most of January/February visiting the hospital. After recording one night at 2am, he drove up to visit two of his friends at their house,  known as "Hillside Manor". He returned home and wrote the song in the early hours of the morning. The band recorded it that same day after practicing only 7 times. As for the song's meaning Duritz said, " It's a song about looking back on your life and seeing changes happening, and for once for me, looking forward and thinking, ya know, things are gonna change for the better - 'maybe this year will be better than the last' - and so, like a lot of songs on the end of an album it's not about everything turning out great, but it at least it is about hope... and the possibilities..."

So even if you think you have nothing to look forward to in the New Year,  remember that you always have one thing; hope.  Without getting too cliche' here,  look back on the year and count only your blessings and not your failures.  Try to remember only the good moments, and take Duritz's advice and,"Hold on to these moments as they pass."

A long December and there's reason to believe

Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember the last thing that you said as you were leavin'
Now the days go by so fast

And it's one more day up in the canyons
And it's one more night in Hollywood
If you think that I could be forgiven...I wish you would

The smell of hospitals in winter
And the feeling that it's all a lot of oysters, but no pearls
All at once you look across a crowded room
To see the way that light attaches to a girl

And it's one more day up in the canyons
And it's one more night in Hollywood
If you think you might come to California...I think you should

Drove up to Hillside Manor sometime after two a.m.
And talked a little while about the year
I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower,
Makes you talk a little lower about the things you could not show her

And it's been a long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember all the times I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass

And it's one more day up in the canyon
And it's one more night in Hollywood
It's been so long since I've seen the ocean...I guess I should

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