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Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow

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Album Review

Hiring noted roots experimentalists Tchad Blake and Mitchell Froom as engineer and consultant, respectively, Sheryl Crow took a cue from their Latin Playboys project for her second album — she kept her roots rock foundation and added all sorts of noises, weird instruments, percussion loops, and off-balance production to give Sheryl Crow a distinctly modern flavor. And, even with the Stonesy grind of "Sweet Rosalyn" or hippie spirits of "Love Is a Good Thing," it is an album that couldn't have been made any other time than the '90s. As strange as it may sound, Sheryl Crow is a postmodern masterpiece of sorts — albeit a mainstream, post-alternative, postmodern masterpiece. It may not be as hip or innovative as, say, the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique, but it is as self-referential, pop culture obsessed, and musically eclectic. Throughout the record, Crow spins out wild, nearly incomprehensible stream-of-consciousness lyrics, dropping celebrity names and products every chance she gets ("drinking Falstaff beer/Mercedes Ruehl and a rented Leer"). Often, these litanies don't necessarily add up to anything specific, but they're a perfect match for the mess of rock, blues, alt-rock, country, folk, and lite hip-hop loops that dominate the record. At her core, she remains a traditionalist — the songcraft behind the infectious "Change Would Do You Good," the bubbly "Everyday Is a Winding Road," and the weary "If It Makes You Happy" helped get the singles on the radio — but the production and lyrics are often at odds with those instincts, creating for a fascinating and compelling (and occasionally humorous) listen and one of the most individual albums of its era.

Biography

Born: 11 February 1962 in Kennett, MO

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Sheryl Crow's fresh, updated spin on classic roots rock made her one of the most popular mainstream rockers of the '90s. Her albums were loose and eclectic on the surface, yet were generally tied together by polished, professional songcraft. Crow's sunny, good-time rockers and world-weary ballads were radio staples for much of the '90s, and she was a perennial favorite at Grammy time. Although her songwriting style was firmly anchored to the rock tradition, she wasn't a slave to it — her free-associative,...
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