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Sheryl Crow finally veered back away from vanilla mainstream-ness and recorded another good album!
It's not quite as good as her self-titled, as it has no songs quite as good as Every Day Is A Winding Road or Strong Enough and All I Wanna Do from her first album, but a few of them are really catchy.
I'll let you in on a little secret...
Sheryl Crow is shit.
I think I fall somewhere in between these two extremes, lol.
I actually liked the new single, the name of which has just escaped me. Irresistable pop.
I don't feel strongly about Sheryl Crow.
But is there any reason why, if she had been born 30 years earlier, she wouldn't have been Carole King? Seems to me she would have done just fine in the Brill Building, and could have had a credible career in the 1960s and 1970s as a songwriter (with a knack for hooks) and occasional performer.
(As always, I'm referring to her musical ability, not her public persona. I think we can all agree that there's something diabolical about using Buddy Holly to sell mascara, but that doesn't enter into it.)
Sheryl Crow's first two albums are strong, and...err...both AM ranked. I'd say this is her third best, and definitely a return to form.
I wouldn't put either in the top 100, but maybe her self titled would nick my top 200.
Anthony, are you anti-all mainstream, or do you have some specific grievance with Sheryl Crow?
Sheryl Crow is a nondescript artist who has based a career on writing bland pop music (which occasionally ventures into country and blues, albeit negligibly.) And I don’t mean nondescript in the “not easily classifiable” sense (á la Bob Dylan), but in the plain, “lacking distinctive features” sense, like John Mayer (although, at least he has chops.) It’s the type of music that middle-aged mothers put on when they’ve got the cloth in one hand and the Lemon Pledge in the other. Or when they’re driving to their weekly book club meeting.
Her music has nothing important to say and is only redeemed by the occasional hook. Here’s some of Crow’s insights:
“All I wanna do is have some fun/I got a feeling I'm not the only one.”
“I'm gonna soak up the sun/I’m gonna tell everyone to lighten up.”
“If it makes you happy/It can't be that bad/If it makes you happy/Then why the hell are you so sad?”
If you’re looking for substance-free pop fluff with just enough sprinkling of [insert roots genre here] to give it the Grammy seal-of-approval, Norah Jones would be right up your alley.
For comparison, again, here's Carole King:
"tonight you're mine, completely / you give your love so sweetly"
"it's too late baby / now it's too late / though we really did try to make it"
"I feel the earth move under my feet / I see the sky tumblin' down"
"everybody's doin' a brand new dance now / come on baby, do the Loco-motion"
...and, of course, the piece de resistance:
"he hit me and I knew he loved me / Cause if he didn't care for me / I could never have made him mad / He hit me and I was glad"
OK, that last one is unusually awful, but you can use lyrics to make anybody look like an idiot, including Bob Dylan. And I like Carole King!