First off, Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there, but most especially my own wonderful mother!
And now for today’s randomly selected Song of the Day.
1998’s The Globe Sessions is my favorite Sheryl Crow album. It kicks off with the excellent single ‘My Favorite Mistake,’ features the sublime cowboy funk of ‘There Goes the Neighborhood,’ finds room for a swell Dylan cover in ‘Mississippi’ and delivers one of its finest moments with the ramshackle penultimate track ‘Members Only.’
Not to mention ‘Anything But Down,’ another hit, the slow burn of ‘The Difficult Kind,’ the delicate ‘Riverside’ and the jaunty ‘It Don’t Hurt.’
The arc of most artists’ careers is a bell curve — a ramp up to their biggest success and then a gradual (or not so gradual) decline. That’s true even for stars who blew up right out of the gate.
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.
I’ve listened to Sheryl Crow’s 2008 album once, and that was enough for me to decide I never needed to hear it again.
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 can’t decide what I think of Sheryl Crow. At one point I really liked her music — particularly the Globe Sessions album, which I find strong start to finish — but later I soured on her.
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.