This song is a commentary on fame. With the line, "When everybody loves me, I will never be lonely," lead signer Adam Duritz is stating - with more than a touch of sarcasm - that fame will make everything better ("never be lonely" is repeated to drive home the message: This guy is delusional). When it became the first hit for the band, Duritz was suddenly recognized all over America, which he found discomfiting. The newfound notoriety sent him into a prolonged funk; suddenly he found himself singing a song about dreaming of fame when he was quite bitter about it. With the song resonating his troubles, he came to loath singing it. Duritz stopped writing for over a year, and the Counting Crows second album, Recovering the Satellites
, wasn't released until three years after their debut.
Looking back on the song in our 2013 interview with Adam Duritz
, he explained that even though it is foolish to think that the adulation of fame will solve your problems, it's hard to resist. Said Duritz: "You're supposed to see through that guy: 'When everybody loves me, I'll never be lonely.' You're supposed to know that's not true. For one thing, there's no such thing as 'everybody loves me.' Nobody knows you in that case. So I knew that wasn't going to happen that way. But you still want it: you want life to be easier, you want to be a rock star so it's easier to talk to a girl. It's the same crazy person sitting there with the girl later, though. So it doesn't fix things."