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Round Here

by

Counting Crows



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

"This is a song about me," lead singer Adam Duritz said of this song on Counting Crows VH1 Storytellers appearance. Said Duritz: "The song begins with a guy walking out the front door of his house and leaving behind this woman. But the more he begins to leave people behind in his life, the more he feels like he's leaving leaving himself behind as well, and the less substantial he feels about himself. That's sort of what the song's about: even as he disappears from the lives of people, he's disappearing more and more from his own life."
This song dates back to Adam Duritz' days in a band called the Himalayans, which he joined when he was a student at the University of California. That band - guitarist Dan Jewett, bass player Dave Janusko and drummer Chris Roldan - wrote the music for the song, to which Duritz added lyrics. The song became their most popular at concerts, and when Duritz formed Counting Crows, he brought the song with him. With his new bandmates Steve Bowman, David Bryson, Charlie Gillingham and Matt Malley, he worked up a new version of the song that was included on their first album, August And Everything After. Duritz made sure to credit everyone in both bands with writing the song, so "Round Here" has eight different writers listed on the composer credits.
The theme of childhood promises not panning out is one that shows up a lot in Duritz' lyrics. In the chorus of this song, he lists some sayings that our parents often say: "Around here we always stand up straight," "Around here we're carving out our names."

Said Duritz: "You're told as a kid that if you do these things, it will add up to something: you'll have a job, you life. And for me, and for the character in the song, they don't add up to anything, it's all a bunch of crap. Your life comes to you or doesn't come to you, but those things didn't really mean anything.

By the end of the song, he's so dismayed that he's screaming out that he gets to stay up as late as he wants and nobody makes him wait; the things that are important to a kid - you don't have to go to bed, you don't have to do anything. But they're the sort of things that don't make any difference at all when you're an adult. They're nothing."
At the time, Counting Crows didn't release singles in America, and it wasn't until 1998 that Billboard allowed songs to chart on their Hot 100 that weren't released as singles. As a result, the song is a chart anomaly: a very popular song that never showed up. It did make #31 on the Airplay chart, which was later integrated in the Hot 100. The group didn't release singles so listeners would be compelled to buy the albums - a far more lucrative purchase, and arguably a more complete listening experience.
The band often plays extended versions of this song at concerts, which can be heard on the 10 minute performance on the song on their 2013 live album Echoes of the Outlaw Roadshow. "I think one of the nice things about playing music is a sense that whatever I want to do is okay," Adam Duritz said in our 2013 interview. "As long as I'm really expressing something, then any way I want to express the song, it's fine."
Counting Crows made a video for this song, which was directed by Mark Neale, who would later direct The Verve Pipe's video for "The Freshman" and the documentary Faster. It was the second video the band made (following "Mr. Jones"), and the last one they made for the album, since Adam Duritz wanted the band to scale back promotion when they became wildly popular. "I saw people around me putting out records that got a little too big, and that was the end of them," Duritz told us. "I didn't want that for us, so I stopped it."
Counting Crows
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Comments (20):

I guess, based on all the interpretations people have come with, that this song is so amazing that people have their own meaning on it.
Mine is, that it's a story about a girl travelling from Nashville. And she suffers from a manic depression, and is greatly misunderstood. And the writer meets here at the airport by accident, and after time he falls in love with her. Then she ends up killing herself.
You also find a piece of her in "Mrs Potters Lullaby" saying "There's a piece of Maria in every song I sing".
- Ole Folde, Smøla, Norway
This song speaks volumes to me. It came out during a time when my wife was battling bipolar disorder and had attempted suicide. After she was admitted and stabilized, I remember travelling home to my teenage children and listening to this song. I was just overcome by the lyrics-- She says she's tired of life. She must be tired of something.
- bluedog49, Baton Rouge, LA
Compare the background notes to the (later) Greg Laswell song, "That it Moves." Very similar sound.
- Jim, Pleasant Hill, CA
I always thought this sound would have a great video accompany of 2 people (the singer and Maria) either working at, or patients at an "end-of-life" AIDS clinic. The words worked for me in that way. "The contrast of white on white" and ghosts is what those people are. Angels get a better view of right and wrong, in the religious sense of people that some believe that AIDS patients have someone offended God.

Maria has no where to go, a run-away, and ended up on the streets, and eventually, at this clinic. She knows something the writer doesn't, that, maybe she also has AIDS, and knows the end result, or, being in love with the writer, and he is not long for the world.

Round here, they're carving out our names (etching tombstones), we all look the same (AIDS patients withering away) We talk like lions (We convince ourselves we're going to beat this), but we sacrifice like lambs (when they can no longer fight the disease, they submit).

Mama's little baby get herself out of the lightning: Days when they were children and they didn't have the fear of dying from such a devestating disease. The girl in the parking lot tells the writer that he should take a chance with Maria, as his and/or her time (walls are crumbling) is short, and she's considering taking her own life as opposed to a lengthy and painful slow death from AIDS, or life without the writer.

We're never sent to bed early (cause their time is too short), and no one makes us wait (for sake of compassion). We stay up very, very late in order to not lose any more time sleeping (which will be coming soon enough)

And, to the general public: Would you catch me if I was falling (if I showed outward signs of AIDS), To his family: would you kiss me if I was leaving (like people do), To Maria: Would you hold me if I was lonely, cause I'm lonely without you. I'm under the gun (my time is short), and I don't see nothing (purposeful double negative intending to mean that I know, I understand).

At least, that's how I've always interpreted the song. As much as mainstream bands hated music videos, I wish the artistic creativity was still there (as in the golden days of MTV), and a black and white video of my interpretation was set to the song. It would be sad, and appropriate.
- Steve, Gloucester City, NJ
wow I thought this was about a place filled w/people who were released from the mental hospitals when they closed down
- Heimdallr, lakeland, Sweden
I am amazed at how this song can vividly pursue my mind. An experience that one cannot rationally speak of other than the words to a song.

Our minds forget over time just how sacred some memories are.
- Epiphany777, Edmonton, AB
Although I'd heard it previously, this song really resonated w/me when I was training to become a military officer. It painted a perfect emotional picture of what it was like to be a new officer, with all the attendant expectations of visible confidence, internal insecurities, and wrestling w/public perceptions. In this context, the "she" was the demands placed on young military officers.

Two best lines IMHO are "Where no one notices the contrast of white on white" (my take: public just sees the uniform and not the subtle, but signicant differences between those that wear it) & ''Round here we talk just like lions, but we sacrifice just like lambs'' (my take: new officers need to act confident/commanding, but really they're usually not).
- Dale, Pasadena, MD
It's a bit ironic. This is the very first Counting Crows song I ever heard. I bought 'August And Everything After' based on a very positive review long before they broke through over here in Europe.
So, I was hooked instantly. This is also the best song they've ever written. So, the first is the best, that doesn't sound like giving these guys much credit, no?
But I'm an unconditional fan ever since.
To me, this song is about finding your way through life, which, in 1994 when I was 19 was something that I struggled with.
This is one of those records that sticks with you through rough times and helps you get through.
- Jan, Antwerp, --
I have always loved this song! Feel like it is the soundtrack to my life!!...Some Good Some Bad...Some really Good...Some really Bad!
- Mandi, Fort Lauderdale, FL
this song hits home for me and i love it
- donna, roanoke, VA
One of their best songs
- Francia, Caracas, --
This is an incredible song. I enjoy music that evokes imagery, and this song definitely does that.
- Scott, Baton Rouge, LA
Adam says this song is abt all the clichés we hear abt life as a child, and how we believe everything's gonna be perfect when we grow up (''Nobody makes us wait/Round here we stay up very, very, very late'') and how when we grow up we become disapointed (''I can see nothing, nothing, round here'')

My favorite line is ''Round here we talk just like lions, but we sacrifice just like lambs''
- Alice, São Paulo, Brazil
This has to be their best song! Truely amazing. I fell in love withh this song when this boy told me about it. Loved it ever since.
- julie, taylor, TX
This song is so real and understandable. great song
- tello, nyc, NY
The vocals on this song are absolutly beautiful. I wake up singing this song sometimes. It is very real and very raw.
- Natalie, Chiago, IL
Check Limewire for the live version recorded in Paris in 1994. It's amazing.
- Stephen, Boston, MA
This a very great song and very well written. It encompasses the emotions in such a great way. "She looks up at the building, says she's thinking of jumping. She says she's tired of life. She must be tired of something"...
- Andrew, New Bethlehem, PA
On the second disc of "Across a Wire: Live in New York City" They play a 10 minute version of this song, combining it with "Have You Seen Me Lately"
- Greg, Paris, MI
I have a great live, acoustic version of this. Excellent song.
- rob, vancouver, Canada
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