This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
With their morose lyrics and minor-key melancholia, Counting Crows have always sounded like autumn. Hey, it’s no wonder their first album was called August and Everything After.
So colour me surprised — and impressed — that their Steve Lillywhite-produced fourth studio effort Hard Candy finds gloomy Gus Adam Duritz and his posse soaking up the sunshiny sound of summery pop-rock. The guitars jingle-jangle and crunch like R.E.M., the beats are bright and bouncy, the arrangements remind you of Bruce Springsteen, Ben Folds and Burt Bacharach (though not all at once), and Duritz quits whining long enough to sing the praises of American Girls, having a Good Time, staying Up All Night and taking a Holiday In Spain. Put it this way: Hard Candy is good enough you forgive Duritz for those dweeby dreads. Yup. That good.