It's no great secret that Adam Duritz, singer and songwriter for Counting Crows, spent the early part of his career dreaming of fame and popularity. Listening to Mr. Jones,
from debut album August and Everything After, it becomes clear that this is a man searching for something - and maybe, fame will satisfy this desire.
When everybody loves me, I will never be lonely... - Mr. Jones
Much of the music of Counting Crows, is like taking a journey through the life of a man. Following the fluctuations, seeing the failures and disappointments, detailed in song. And gradually, observing the subtle shifts in perspective, motivation and ideals. Have You Seen Me Lately?, from Counting Crows second album Recovering the Satellites, was in many ways the reply to Mr. Jones - after discovering that the fame he'd desired wasn't all he'd imagined it to be, Adam Duritz wrote a song from the centre of the turmoil he was feeling. They are the words of a man who has realised that with fame, comes sacrifice, and loss of freedom.
You got a piece of me, but it's just a little piece of me...   - Have You Seen Me Lately?
Which brings me to St. Robinson in his Cadillac Dream. The final song from Counting Crows third album This Desert Life, it is another song addressing one man's dreams. However this time around, Adam Duritz has the benefit of a longer period of experience and hindsight to draw upon, allowing him to approach this recurring subject from a different angle. Whereas Mr. Jones was written with a sense of naivety, and Have You Seen Me Lately? was born out of suffocation by fame, with St. Robinson, Adam Duritz seems to poke gentle fun at himself. Taking his experiences, and expanding upon them, creating a story that - while it may be fictional - draws on many personal thoughts and feeling.
St. Robinson is a man who lives in a dream world. Not living in the present, always pushing his thoughts towards tomorrow.
And I keep thinking tomorrow is coming today
So I am endlessly waiting...
One interesting aspect of this song for me, is what I believe is the connection between this song, and Amy Hit the Atmosphere. While it is not touched upon in any great detail, Adam sings 'I dream of Ballerinas and I don't know why?...' Amy Hit the Atmosphere is a song about a girl who managed to drag herself out of a cycle of destruction, turning away from life as a junkie, returning to life as a ballerina. So we have a man caught up in tomorrow, always wanting just a little bit more, never truly satisfied with the present - and he dreams of a girl who fought, and who won. A girl who valued her todays enough to give herself the chance of a brighter tomorrow.
Carrie's down in the basement all toe shoes and twinned
With the girl in the mirror who spins when she spins...
And all the while, while a girl is completely lost in the simple bliss of movement, satisfied with her own reflection as they dance together, Arthur Robinson wants for something more. Dreaming of that Cadillac, all the while getting nowhere at all. Bound to a destiny of disappointment, never realising all the joy he has passed up along his journey towards an unachievable goal.
In a house where regret is a carousel ride
We are spinning, and spinning, and spinning...
She says I always do the same things over and over...
From the Counting Crows album This Desert Life