Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 11 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
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  1. In between, we get plenty of striking melodies, at least a dozen quotable lyrics (“Tomorrow’s the name we changed from yesterday to blame when the train just don’t stop here anymore” is an instant Duritz classic), and an arrangement that shows off the Crows at their loosest and most vibrant.
  2. Aug 29, 2014
    80
    Durvitz's raspy voice and lucid, lyrical stories always hold just a hint of desperation, and even decades into a staggered career, these new tunes can’t help but feel like part of a larger narrative that began during the band’s '90s glory days but finds further, greater refinement here.
  3. Classic Rock Magazine
    Dec 17, 2014
    70
    Somewhere Under Wonderland isn't a revolution, but it is assured, interesting and quietly experimental in its own way. [Oct 2014, p.94]
  4. Sep 5, 2014
    75
    A colorful and emotionally rich palette of sounds that combines past recording styles, flavors from covers album Underwater Sunshine, and the spontaneous spirit of their live performances.
  5. Oct 2, 2014
    70
    Don’t try to call it a comeback or a resurgence or some other dismissive, backhanded compliment, because between August and Recovering The Satellites, they got better. Between Recovering The Satellites and This Desert Life, they got better. Ditto for Hard Candy and then ditto for Saturday Nights. The best part about Somewhere Under Wonderland? Yes, that trajectory keeps its pace, but it also assures anyone still listening that in 21 years, that story probably won’t be any different.
  6. Q Magazine
    Aug 29, 2014
    80
    Impassioned, thoughtful, chock-a-block with great tunes, this rich mix of vibrancy and gloom does what all great rock should--lift the spirits. [Oct 2014, p.107]
  7. Sep 17, 2014
    80
    It contains some of the band’s most ambitious and thought-provoking songs.
  8. Sep 15, 2014
    80
    Still channelling Lynyrd Skynyrd, REM and the Band, the rest of the Crows keep the tyres on the tarmac like pros.
  9. Uncut
    Aug 29, 2014
    70
    They sound refreshed again here, even if their classy, Music From Big Pink-inspired roots-rock has changed little from the default settings established by their brilliant debut August And Everything After 20 years ago. [Oct 2014, p.69]
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 21 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 21
  2. Negative: 2 out of 21
  1. Sep 5, 2014
    10
    Seriously? Someone just compared Adam Duritz's writing to Tom Delonge's writing. What a joke. This album IS different lyrically than CountingSeriously? Someone just compared Adam Duritz's writing to Tom Delonge's writing. What a joke. This album IS different lyrically than Counting Crows' past work, so obviously you didn't give it much listening time. If you are a Counting Crows fan you will love this album. No matter which of their albums you've loved in the past. This one is a taste of all of them. Incredible songwriting. Some of their best work ever. Just amazing. Enjoy. Full Review »
  2. Sep 4, 2014
    3
    Adam Duritz's songwriting on the Counting Crows' debut album "August and Everything After..." (1993) and their excellent follow up "RecoveringAdam Duritz's songwriting on the Counting Crows' debut album "August and Everything After..." (1993) and their excellent follow up "Recovering The Satellites" (1996) was impressive and impactful because of his unique ability to sing with such utter honesty about specific girls at specific locations that the songs still somehow translated into relatable music. It was Adam's authenticity that stood out on classics like "Goodnight Elizabeth," and "Anna Begins". Their uneven fourth disc "This Desert Life," (1999) also has some terrific tunes, but by the time "Hard Candy" (2002) was released, Adam had developed into a masterful pop songwriter, constructing gems such as the title track, "Miami," "Up All Night," and "American Girls".

    Since then, things have started to unravel.

    It took six more years before "Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings" (2008) was released, and it was a bit of a letdown. The honesty and relatable aspects of Adam's lyrics seemed to be missing, and he just seemed to be trying a bit too hard. The album was mostly a collection of forgettable tunes with a false authenticity, although "You Can't Count On Me" and "Insignificant" were standouts.

    Six years later, and now "Somewhere Under Wonderland" is somewhere between awful and annoying. Adam seems to have completely lost the art of the song craft. While Across A Wire (1998) documented a pair of the Crows' once incredible live shows, their concerts have begun to devolve into an inconsistent exercise in theatrics and over-expression on behalf of their lead singer, and Adam's overacting is on display on this studio record. It is one thing to go off on a tangent in a live jam, but without a solid song behind it, the performance just comes off as a meandering act of masturbation. Songs that are about nothing go nowhere, and his once-raw lyrics have been replaced by attempts at clever wordplay that are actually just annoying gimmicks you would expect from a second-rate beat poet. One or two songs could perhaps be characterized as "catchy" with easy hooks, but the songs are so shallow and meaningless that the listener is quickly bored. Mostly, however, the songs on this album are just overwritten, crammed with words upon words upon words with attempts at wittiness that only feel contrived and without any structure.

    There are two songs worth mentioning. "John Appleseed's Lament" is very interesting. It is wholly derivative of their earlier work, but to such an obvious degree that I must give them the benefit of the doubt and say it is more like a live mash-up, with samples of guitar riffs and lyrical themes borrowed from across their catalog. If it was intentional it is genius.

    The last song on the album is Possibility Days, and while it doesn't quite justify the $10 purchase price of the full album, it at least makes me not wholly regret the purchase. Unlike the rest of the songs on the album, this song actually breathes. The lyrics tell a new story of another one of Adam's famous failed relationships, and with a well crafted structure that carries the listener as it builds into a climax. This is a truly great tune, and I can only hope that as the final track on the album, it was also the most recent song Adam wrote for it, and perhaps it's a tease of a great album due out six years from now.

    My advice: buy the last two tracks on the record, and consider the act of skipping the rest as cash (and time) well-saved.
    Full Review »
  3. Jul 14, 2018
    10
    This is the best they've published since Recovering the Satelites, it's Counting Crows back on top.
    Every song is good, and they are all
    This is the best they've published since Recovering the Satelites, it's Counting Crows back on top.
    Every song is good, and they are all different. The opening song Palasides Park is amazing, listen to it till the end and dont be scared by its 8min running time.

    The last song, for me, is up there with A Long December. Everything in between those songs is just incredible, good quality music and lyrics. It is worth a full listen over and over again.
    Dont listen to the haters, Counting Crows is back.
    Full Review »