Hello readers! I hope you guys had a great spring break.
Normally I write one blog per week releasing it on Sunday’s, but since I’m busy Sunday playing a show at MothersWestChase Im doing it today!
Today’s blog is going to be about analyzing the lyrics of one of my all time favorite Counting Crows songs and songs in general – Mr. Jones.
Mr. Jones off their debut album “August and Everything After”, released September of 1993 is a song simply about the frontman Adam Duritz and his folk singing friend wanting a better future in music, and in life.
Arguably the Crows biggest hit, this song is played regularly at parties and such. And what is seen as just a fun party song; is actually much more than that lyrically and emotionally.
“Was dining in New Amsterdam, staring at this yellow haired girl and Mr. Jones strikes up a conversation – with this black haired flamenco dancer. She dances while her father plays guitar, she’s suddenly beautiful. We all want something beautiful, man I wish I was beautiful.”
The first verse is pretty self explanatory. Its just Adam Duritz and his buddy Marty Jones going out as usual and Adam sees an attractive women and wants to walk up and talk to her – but is nervous and insecure. Mr. Jones cheers Adam up by focusing his attention in a different direction. The direction of a black haired flamenco dancer. At first Adam doesn’t really understand what Marty sees in her until her father plays a song on guitar and she does a little dance for everyone. And now Adam all the sudden finds her even more beautiful than the blond he was looking at earlier. The next line of the song is very deep. “We all want something beautiful, man I wish I was beautiful.”
What this lyric means is very easy to analyze. Just stating the fact that we all want to have a beautiful partner as the love of our lives. “Man I wish I was beautiful”, goes beyond physical appearance. It is Adam Duritz being hard on himself thinking he’s a bad man, how he wishes he was beautiful on the inside. Given Adam’s history of depression and insecurity issues this lyric makes sense, and is something I think everyone but narcissists can relate to. Because all of us dislike ourselves from time to time.
“So come dance down to the silence of the morning, sha la la la la yeah. Cut up Maria, show me some of those Spanish dances and pass me bottle Mr. Jones. Believe in me, help me believe in anything because I want to who believes.”
This verse is more confusing than the last. Adam Duritz has well known insomnia issues, and the line “so come dance down to the silence of the morning” is just him expressing the reality that sometimes he goes to sleep when everyone else is getting up. “Cut up Maria, show me some of those Spanish dances and pass me a bottle Mr. Jones.” First off, you are probably wondering who Maria is. Interestingly enough the character of “Maria” shows up in Crows songs on a regular basis. Duritz in the past has expressed Maria to he himself, but in some cases such as this one the charter of Maria is based on a record pal he had Maria McKee. He had a bit of a crush on her, and I guess what this lyric is just him flirting with her while trying to look all cool with Mr. Jones. Next line “believe in me, Help me believe in anything because I was a be someone who believes.”
It’s at this point in the song where Adam is just having a conversation with Marty telling him that Marty needs to believe in him in order for him to accomplish his dreams, anther self esteem shown issue by Adam. He then states for him to help him believe in anything. This lyric goes beyond just believing in Adam and his gift for music, but believing that Adam can do anything he sets his mind too. “Cause I wanna be sometime who believes”, meaning I wanna be a believer and have hope in this life but sometimes I don’t think I can do it.
“Mr. Jones and me tell each other fairy tales and we stare at the beautiful women. She’s looking at you, I don’t think so – she’s looking at me. Smiling in the bright lights, coming through the stereo. When everybody loves me, I could never be lonely.”
This chorus is just Adam explaining the friendship between him and Marty. They tell each other wild stories and stare at women they think a attractive, and when they look back they wonder why sometimes. Adam then states his dream to be a big rock star saying he wants to be in spotlight coming through people’s speakers and stereos and how he wonders sometime if he becomes a big star maybe he won’t feel so lonely due to all the adoring fans.
“Well I’m gonna paint my picture. Paint myself in blue and red and black and grey. All of the beautiful colors are very very meaningful. Yeah well you know Grey is my favorite color, I felt so symbolic everyday and if I knew a Picasso I would buy myself a grey guitar and play.”
This is Adam expressing his love for art. Essentially, he’s just singing about how it makes him happy to play music. And if he knew a painter like Picasso he’d ask him to paint his guitar grey and maybe just maybe he’d start to play.
Mr. Jones and me look into the future, and we stare at the beautiful women. She’s looking at you, I don’t think so – she’s looking at me! Standing in the spotlight, I bought myself a grey guitar and when everybody loves me I will never be lonely.
Chorus #2 is Duritz just restating the close friendship he has with Marty Jones and they want to be big starts. It then breaks down into the most emotional part of the song, the bridge.
I will never be lonely, said I’m never gonna be lonely. I wanna be a Lion, everybody wants to pass as cats we all wanna be big big Stars yeah but we got different reasons for that. Believe in me, cause I don’t believe in anything and I wanna be someone to believe to believe to believe yeah.
This is Duritz again stating how much he wants to be a big star, and on top of this he wants to be a better more courageous person. How everyone wants to pass at the very least of an “okay” person. We all wanna be big stars. Some for the money, some to help others, some because of self esteem problems. Everyone on some level wants to be a big star, and we all have different reasons for that. Then Adam tells Marty to help him believe in himself, because he doesn’t believe in anything yet he wants to. Like how in “The Everlasting Gaze” by The Smashing Pumpkins says “we all wanna hold in the Everlasting gaze.” Meaning we all want to believe in something bigger on some level even though some of us never say it.
Mr. Jones and me stumbling through the patio, yeah we stare at the beautiful women. She’s perfect for you, man there’s just got to be somebody for me. I wanna be Bob Dylan, Mr. Jones wishes he was just a little more funky. When everybody loves you, it’s just about as funky as you can be. Mr. Jones and me staring at the video and when I look at the television I wanna see me staring right back at me. We all wanna be big stars, but we don’t know why and we don’t know how and when everybody loves me im gonna be just about as happy as I can be, Mr. Jones and me are gonna be big stars.
The final bit of the song. About him and Marty going thick and thin for each other even if Marty finds his special someone and Adam doesn’t. Adam says he wants to a legend like Bob Dylan and influence people, while Marty just wants to be a little more funky. Adam tells him if you’re a big star like me you’ll feel that way, as he tries to talk him into it. He talks once again about how he wants to be big putting it better than every saying how when he looks at his television he wants to see him. He ends it on a note saying he thinks he will achieve true happiness if he reaches fame saying that him and Marty will indeed one day be big stars.
Thanks for reading! Have a great day.