Sheryl Crow’s arc isn’t really an arc at all but a steep downhill slope. Her first album was a smash hit, selling 10 million copies worldwide. Then every one of her next seven albums sold fewer than the last, even as she remained in the pop culture conversation as both a musician and a celebrity.
‘All I Wanna Do’ is the song that launched Sheryl Crow into the public eye, and remains the biggest hit of her career. The track won Grammys for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, both well-earned.
I was going to use today’s blog entry to praise Crow’s excellent lyrics, because this song is an explosion of wonderful imagery and flawless characterization. But a little research revealed that the credit for those lyrics belongs to poet Wyn Cooper instead.
That’s probably unfair to Ms. Crow, who is a talented songwriter and performer, but I just don’t have the time or desire to dig too deeply into new music that doesn’t grab me right away.
I sometimes detect something inauthentic and sterile in her music, a safeness and blandness that turns me off. But at other times I buy her as the rootsy rock babe she’s always tried to be.
Here is the second Bob Dylan song in this two-week series, and interestingly, the first Sheryl Crow song I’ve featured. I’m not a huge Sheryl Crow fan, but I’m surprised I went 1,034 songs without choosing one of hers.
‘Mississippi’ is an interesting case because Crow covered it before Dylan’s original was even released. Dylan first recorded the song in 1997 for Time Out of Mind but decided to leave it off of that album. Instead he allowed Crow to record it for her 1998 album The Globe Sessions.
Dylan would revisit the song three years later for 2001’s Love and Theft, and it’s that version that has become the definitive one.
With a couple high-profile releases (Counting Crows and R.E.M.) on the way over the next two weeks, I thought this would be a good time to catch up with the CDs I’ve purchased so far in 2008. I plan to review all of my music purchases this year.
I don’t feel as qualified to “review” albums as I do films, due to my lack of musical ability, I suppose, and the fact that I’ve never studied it in any formal way. However, it’s a safe bet that I’ve spent more hours of my life listening to music than watching movies, and I definitely know what I like.
Here, then, are my first reviews of 2008. I’ll compile them in one post because this is a catch-up effort. From now on I’ll blog one at a time as I do the movies.