Hard Candy is the fourth studio album by American rock band Counting Crows, released in the United Kingdom on July 7, 2002, and the following day in the United States.
The album features the hidden track "Big Yellow Taxi", a Joni Mitchell cover. This was one of their biggest radio hits from the album; re-releases were revised to mention the song. Originally the song did not include Vanessa Carlton and the standard version caught the ear of a producer who added it to the movie Two Weeks Notice adding Carlton's voice to the track. This version topped the VH-1 charts and American Top 40 for a while. A new version of the song "Holiday in Spain", recorded as a duet in English and Dutch with Dutch band BLØF, became a number-one hit in the Netherlands.
Reviews hailed the album as the best release since their debut, with the albums of the mid-1990s being "long, and drawn out", likely due to Duritz's state of mind at that time, one reviewer happily announced that, "Hard Candy is crisp and tight, packed with three- and four-minute shots of radio friendly fare", and that during a time when hard rock is the standard, the band are not afraid of a sound that is in the title track, compared to the Byrds, and with its "Allman-esque" twin guitars, echoes The Band in "If I Could Give All My Love (Richard Manuel Is Dead)". The album has received a score of 69 out of 100 based on "generally favorable reviews" from Metacritic.
Adam, we don't know if you misunderstood the song's anti-globalization, anti-industrialization, anti-corporation message, or just chose to ignore it so you could get free Frappucinos for life. But we're gonna hip you to a harsh reality. Seriously, you know the line about how they "paved paradise and put up a parking lot?" Like how they replaced something beautiful with something cold and heartless and commercial? That's you. You're the parking lot, motherfucker. You drove your shitty steamroller over something everyone loved so you could pander your sensitive pussyhound whine to people waiting in line at the Carl's Jr. They paved Nirvana and put up a Counting Crow. Argh!
Additionally, NME also included this cover on its list of the worst songs of the 2000s, and Ultimate Classic Rock highlighted this song in its Terrible Classic Rock Covers series.
All tracks written by Adam F. Duritz unless otherwise indicated. The song "Big Yellow Taxi" was written by Joni Mitchell, who is credited in the liner notes with the passage "May contain trace amounts of Joni Mitchell"