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Polaroids: A Greatest Hits Collection

Shawn Colvin

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Album Review

Shawn Colvin was one of the few pure singer/songwriters who broke through to mainstream success in the 1990s, and with good reason — her songs have the strength and emotional honesty to satisfy her core folkie crowd, while her breathy but powerful voice communicates with enough force to be a lot more than just a vehicle for her lyrics. It also helps that she isn't afraid of a good pop melody, as her taste in covers suggests, and that she can write one herself when she's so inclined, indicated by the fact she had actual hit singles with "Sunny Came Home" and "I Don't Know Why." Polaroids: A Greatest Hits Collection is a Shawn Colvin compilation whose focus is summed up quite clearly by its subtitle — her best-known songs are all here, for the most part, while lesser-known and fan-focused material doesn't make the cut, most notably anything from her bare-bones Live '88 album, which still ranks with her best and most passionate work. (And shame on Sony for not including what would have the ideal hidden track — Colvin's witty musical performance as Christian songbird Rachel Jordan on The Simpsons.) But as a sampler of Colvin's work or an introduction for beginners, Polaroids: A Greatest Hits Collection serves its purpose well — there's plenty of fine music (including a newly recorded cover of the Beatles' "I'll Be Back" that's exclusive to this collection) that offers a clear and concise picture of Colvin's creative arc to date, and this is a consistently pleasurable listen from start to finish. With any luck, in another 15 years she'll have another set of songs this strong for Polaroids, Pt. 2.

Customer Reviews


ok, this is an awesome cd especially for girls out there who just need something to get them in a good mood. shawn colvin has great flow and softens the mood while making it bubbly at the same time. a great buy!

Hidden treasures

She may not be as popular as lets say Sarah McLachlan but her catalog speaks for itself in this collection of hits. Sunny Came Home is one of the best songs written in history and songs like "I Don't Know Why" to "You and the Mona Lisa", her soft and sweet delivery of her written poetic lyrics are beautiful to listen to. I do not own her full album as I am only 26 years old and when her biggest hit came out, I was just a young teenager, but this collection made me see just how much of a great artist she is. Buy it NOW! For true and casual fans this cd is beautiful.

A true artist

Ms. Colvin's songs and song styles should be required learning for all would-be singers. She can make even the simplest melodies sound incredibly soulful and complex. On this album, her rendition of The Beatles classic, "I'll Be Back" would make even Lennon & McCartney sit up and wonder why hadn't THEY thought of that arrangement and style.


Born: January 10, 1956 in Vermillion, SD

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Shawn Colvin is one of the leading lights of the so-called "new folk movement" that began in the late '80s. Although she grew out of the somewhat limited "woman with a guitar" school, she kept the form fresh with a diverse approach, avoiding the genre's clichéd sentiments and all-too-often formulaic arrangements in favor of a more personal, pop-influenced style. Colvin's debut record won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 1991, but it was her 1997 single, "Sunny Came Home," that...
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