Sheryl Crow – The Very Best Of

Music Reviews Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow – The Very Best Of

Nowhere is the axiom “familiarity breeds contempt” better realized than in modern pop-radio formats. So it’s no surprise that an artist like Sheryl Crow—with enough solid hits to dominate this 17-track career-summary release—is thought of more in terms of star power and glamour shots than as a serious singer-songwriter. Sure, “Soak Up the Sun” is pure pop gold that upon oft-repeated listens seems effortless and mundane. But here, in the context of smart-pop songcraft like “All I Wanna Do,” “Everyday is a Winding Road” and “Steve McQueen,” you get the sense that Crow’s more than the usual eye-candy flash in the pan. Why do we love Bonnie Raitt’s failed attempts at a pop breakthrough, but allow success to diminish the credibility of the equally soulful singer Crow? “Strong Enough,” a battle-of-the-sexes anthem, proves as insightful as it is clever. There’s an awkward edge in Crow’s strained delivery on the song and in the melody of “Leaving Las Vegas.” But it works perfectly for the songs’ beguilingly desperate tone. Okay, the duet with Kid Rock on “Picture” is lame, as is her cover of Cat Steven’s “The First Cut Is the Deepest.” But nobody’s perfect. Before making her own way as a solo artist, Crow sang backup for Don Henley, among others. Like him, her literate language and soulful voice are so consistent and reliable, they’ve been used as signs that she’s too contrived and commercially savvy to garner real artistic props. We should get over it. These are fun pop songs that require no further justification.

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