Every band reaches a peak at some point, and for the Counting Crows that point may be far behind them. Following their incredible sophomore effort 'Recovering the Satellites' the band has not been able to reach the level of music excellence they once had. With their fourth studio album, the Crows have clearly tried to go back to their 'August and Everything After' sound, which doesn't seem all band on paper, but on a CD it might be a different story. The album opens strong with the title track 'Hard Candy', which is drenched with the crow's early sound and mixes melodic guitars with piano. From there the album really loses all of the wind in its sails- most of the songs seem hookless, and lack direction. The album doesn't lack in cameo appearances, with Sheryl Crow, and Ryan Adams lending the vocals for some of the songs. Maybe this is another experimental album like the last lackluster effort from these guys, but at some point experimentation has to lead to quality music. Sorry guys, but this piece of candy is very hard to swallow.