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Counting Crows - A Long December - Lyrics Meaning

This song is the thirteenth track on the band's second album, Recovering the Satellites, which was released in 1996. The lead singer, Adam Duritz, has stated that the song was primarily written about a friend who was hit by a car in December while they were just beginning to record the album. Duritz spent a lot of time in the hospital with his friend and that experience, along with the ending of the year culminated in this song. The lyrics are a mix of regret, sadness and ultimately hope. Duritz reflects on visiting the hospital and says, "it's all a lot of oysters, but no pearls" which means that many times people are searching for good news at the hospital, but most times in is only bad news they receive. He drives to visit some friends late at night to talk about the past year and how he missed opportunities to tell loved ones that he cares about them. He regrets having the memories of things left unsaid.

At the end of each chorus, Duritz offers a glimmer of hope. He talks about being forgiven and visiting with friends. This last line of the chorus is his redemption for the coming year when he says, "maybe this year will be better than the last" which is a change of pace from the majority of the depressing imagery of hospitals and winter throughout the song. Hope of a better future is all he has as the end of the year approaches.

Meanings of other songs by Counting Crows:
Perfect Blue Buildings