MUSIC: FIRST-CLASS FLYERS

ADAM DURITZ HAS CONQUERED HIS WRITER'S BLOCK, AND COUNTING CROWS IS BACK WITH AN ALBUM THAT SOARS

Rock 'n' roll eats its old. Bands like Green Day, Hootie and the Blowfish and Pearl Jam are built up, and then, when they become successful, trashed by the very same tastemakers and trendmeisters who declared these acts worthwhile to begin with. Only a few bands like U2 and R.E.M. manage to escape the ritual slaughter and mature with grace.

Few bands in recent years have got bigger faster than the folk-rock group Counting Crows. Its 1993 debut album August and Everything After, tuneful and shot through with existential pain, was embraced by legions of listeners looking for thoughtful, mature rock,...

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