You Can't Count on Me

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"You Can't Count on Me"
Counting Crows - You Can't Count on Me.jpg
Single by Counting Crows
from the album Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings
Released March 25, 2008
Format Digital download
Genre Rock
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Jim Bogios, David Bryson, Adam Duritz, Charlie Gillingham, Millard Powers, Dan Vickrey
Producer(s) Brian Deck
Counting Crows singles chronology
"You Can't Count on Me"

"You Can't Count on Me" is the second single and lead commercial single released by Counting Crows[1] from their album Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings.

Critical reception[edit]

Billboard magazine gave the single three-and-a-half stars, calling it "a pleasant surprise" and saying "Duritz's vocals are still more whiny than soulful, but he can deliver a lyrical twist like he's holding an ice pick."[2]

"You Can't Count on Me," was released to radio stations on February 4, 2008. A music video for the song was released on March 20, 2008. To promote the album, the band performed on Private Sessions, Good Morning America, Late Show with David Letterman, The View and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Frontman Adam Duritz has stated in concert that the song is about "people mistaking you for a dependable guy".

Duritz said, about this song: -I started writing it a few years ago sometime during the latter end of the long touring period that followed Hard Candy (2002-2005), probably around mid-2005. It fascinated me that I’d written four entire albums worth of reasons why any sane woman should stay as far away from me as possible and that THAT was somehow still ‘romantic’.

I wanted to write a song about leaving someone that alternated between honest sad feelings about the loss and brutally honest admissions about the damage done. However honest my regrets have been and however much I ‘did the right thing.’ I don’t cheat.

There’s still no changing the fact that people I cared about were hurt very deeply. So I wanted to write lyrics that drew you in with the honest beauty of the reminiscence and then punched you in the face with the truth about my own culpability.

So in the 1st verse: You watch the sky It’s a pale parade of passing clouds That cover the bed upon which we laid in the dark And the memories that I made of a laughing girl But you’re just my toy and I can’t stop playing with you baby

Or in the last verse: I watch all of the same parades As they pass on the days that you wish you’d stayed But all this pain gets me high And I get off and you know why

It pulls you in and then punches you and both sides are just statements of honesty. They’re contradictory but they’re still true. And that’s why the ‘Can’ in the chorus has a ‘t’ on the end of it. You’d almost always expect the line to be ‘You Can Count On Me’ but it’s not. No one ever says ‘You Can’t Count On Me’ because it’s not a very nice thing to say about yourself. It’s also not as ‘hit single’-y in people’s minds. I know this because people actually suggested removing the ‘t’. I know some of them were joking but not all of them.

I wrote the song on the piano and my original music was very much like a combination of the picking acoustic guitar part and the piano part Charlie plays on the record. The two parts are, in fact, derived from different parts of my original piano recording. I always knew the song was never supposed to be pretty.

The music had to be like the lyrics: sentimental, punch, sentimental, punch. This proved to be harder than I thought. We tried it a few times over the years at sound checks and it always sucked. Eventually I gave up on it and completely forgot I had ever written it.”

When we were beginning to work out the songs for Sunday Mornings, my friend Dave Gibbs, formerly of Gigolo Aunts and now Low Stars, said ‘Why don’t you record ‘You Can’t Count On Me’?’ I told him I had no idea what he was talking about. He said it was one of his favorite songs of mine and sent me an mp3 of my original demo.

I listened to it and realized it was the perfect song for the middle of Sunday Mornings because Sunday Mornings needs to NOT be a record about redemption. It’s a record about struggling to get your shit together after you’ve wrecked your life; not necessarily a record about getting your shit together. But the songs are mostly very sad and very beautiful, especially in contrast to Saturday Nights, which can land you in the trap the song’s about. Sunday Mornings needed ‘You Can’t Count On Me’ for the same reason I needed to write ‘You Can’t Count On Me.’


Chart (2008) Peak
U.S. Billboard Adult Top 40 35
U.S. Billboard Pop 100 80


  1. ^ "Counting Crows : Artists". 2008-03-25. Retrieved 2011-07-31. 
  2. ^ Edwards, Gavin (2008-03-06), "You Can't Count on Me". Rolling Stone (1047):61

External links[edit]