Tracks of the Decade: “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” by Counting Crows


Counting Crows, “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” from THIS DESERT LIFE: Arriving early in the decade, “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” was the centerpiece of Counting Crows’ last great record, THIS DESERT LIFE. An epic, cinematic masterpiece that captures all of Adam Duritz’s coffee-shop-romantic angst in bite size, “Lullaby” encapsulates the star-crossed dreams of America in the 1990’s, one last optimistic fix before the sobering events of 9/11. Accompanied by an absolutely fabulous music video (see below), the song blends “City of New Orleans” and Dylan’s “Memphis Blues”, with blindingly grandiose lyrics (“If dreams are like movies/Then memories are films about ghosts”), decadent production, and incendiary performances to boot. It may not be their most popular hit, but it’s got my vote as their best song. A huge claim, given the artistic wealth of their first two records, but you judge for yourself.
PS First one to callout the pre-fame cameo at 5:05’s the winner!

Mrs._Potter's_LullabyCounting Crows
“Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby”
from THIS DESERT LIFE

Arriving early in the decade, “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” was the centerpiece of Counting Crows’ last great album, THIS DESERT LIFE. An epic, cinematic masterpiece that captures all of Adam Duritz’s coffee-shop-romantic angst in bite size, “Lullaby” finds a muse in the star-crossed dreams of America in the 1990’s, one last optimistic fix before the sobering events of 9/11. Accompanied by an absolutely fabulous music video, the song marries “City of New Orleans” and Dylan’s “Memphis Blues”, with blindingly grandiose lyrics (“If dreams are like movies/Then memories are films about ghosts”), decadent production, and incendiary performances to boot. It may not be their most popular hit, but it’s got my vote as their best song. A huge claim, given the artistic wealth of their first two records, but you judge for yourself.

PS First one to callout the pre-fame cameo at 5:05’s the winner!

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4 Responses to Tracks of the Decade: “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” by Counting Crows

  1. Thank you for your great article! This is an amazing song. Adam Duritz is a sweet, tortured soul, and this song (and video) gives such insight into his angst. I think the lyric, “If dreams are like movies/Then memories are films about ghosts” is not grandiose. I think that it’s a poignant truth. Memories are films that can haunt us with sadness and longing.” When it comes to songwriting, Adam is a genius!

    • John says:

      Thanks! Just so you know, I certainly didn’t mean grandiose in a bad way. Grandiose can be simply a fancy way of saying “full of meaning.” I think of Duritz’s lyrics in this song like amazing characters inhabiting the mansion of the music. I did look up Grandiose in the dictionary though, so I’ll grant you that another word may have been more appropriate. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. Pingback: Tracks of the Decade (so far) « Sweet Georgia Breezes

  3. Pingback: Quick Review (LP): This Desert Life by Counting Crows « Sweet Georgia Breezes

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