Saturday, November 8, 2008

Throwback to the 1960s - Sheryl Crow

I'm still trying to keep up with my one-post-a-day target but some days, I just hit a blank (I suspect I'm gonna break the streak soon, finally I'm getting busy with work again! Yay!) On days like these, you either get fluff or something I dredged up from my writing store somewhere. This is one of those days.

Since my last music post brought all the closet '60s and '70s singers fans out of the woodwork, I thought I'd write another music post. Someone more contemporary this time - Sheryl Crow. I love Ms Crow because her voice has that unique wistful quality that projects her inner strength. She writes her own music and often, the instrumentation in her songs is so reminiscent of the Flower Power days of the 1960s. That's why I thought the parents here might enjoy her albums, if you haven't already discovered them.

Her latest two albums are very reflective and soulful. "Wildflower" I absolutely love because it so fits in with my melancholy streak, but don't listen to this if you're feeling blue because it will likely make you utterly miserable! I really feel she was robbed of her "Best Pop Vocal Album" Grammy in 2006 for this album (which went to Kelly Clarkson! What a miscarriage of justice!) Sheryl Crow's lastest offering is "Detours", which I feel is not on the same level of brilliance as "Wildflower" but still well worth listening to. Anyway, this is a review I wrote on "Detours" for a youth organisation that I volunteer with (that's why it's addressed to youths).

Detours – Sheryl Crow

In recent years, Sheryl Crow has blossomed into a serious artiste, moving into more thought-provoking and artsy songs. This is very different from her early albums which were full of sunshine-y and bubblegum pop like “All I Wanna Do” and “Soak Up The Sun”. Her previous album “Wildflower” (another terrific production) showed a more soulful side of Sheryl Crow and her latest album “Detours” continues this vein of heartfelt self-expression.

Sheryl has never kept secret her strong views on issues such as politics, the environment and relationships. In Detours, all these come across with conviction and sincerity. “God Bless This Mess” talks about the trauma faced by soldiers who return from Iraq while “Gasoline” hazards a guess at the uncertain future. “Peace Be Upon Us” is her passionate plea for people to live in harmony and features very catchy Indian instrumentation. She also shows great vulnerability, singing about her personal life. “Diamond Ring” laments her broken engagement with Lance Armstrong, “Make It Go Away (Radiation Song)” is a poignant reflection of her breast cancer experience and “Lullaby for Wyatt” is a tender dedication to her adopted son.

But at the end of the day, it is the music that Sheryl excels best in. She has the knack of writing captivating melodies that are simply lovely without being sugary and superficial. Examples are “Love Is All There Is”, “Love is Free”, “Detours” and “Now That You’re Gone”. These songs have the ability to transport you to a world of sweet (or maybe bittersweet) memories and happy times.

Sheryl has come under some fire, with some saying that she thinks her views (especially political) overly important. I say, it’s a nice change from the usually mindless pop. It would be an inspiration to all youths who wish to express themselves through their music.

And the great thing about Sheryl Crow is that her songs continue to have very appealing tunes, especially with repeat listening. So if you find the themes too heavy, you don’t even have to pay any attention to the lyrics and just enjoy the music. If you want a change from the usual teenage angst of Avril Lavigne, just for a while, I highly recommend giving this album a try.
Here is a video of one of my favourite tracks in the album, "Love Is All There Is". Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

I LOVE Sheryl Crow, and Detours, but, I wouldn't say it was a miscarriage of justice that Clarkson won that year. Breakaway was the better album.

monlim said...

Respectfully disagree (I have both Breakaway too btw), I thought Wildflower was absolutely brilliant :)

Alcovelet said...

I just love Sheryl Crow - it's that beautiful voice that strikes a chord deep inside us, sigh. Of course it helps that she's so gorgeous to boot. All the men love her all the women want to look like her. Hot!

monlim said...

Hehe, yes she is!

Lilian said...

I'm not at all in touch with contemporary music, but I do remember buying an album of hers back in the mid 1990s; I hardly buy albums. It was the album with "All I wanna do is have some fun", can't quite remember what the other songs were, but you're right, can wallow in self-pity if feeling blue while listening to her. But for melancholy, no one beats Karen Carpenter in bringing me down (I mean that in a good way).

Actually, I like many of Kelly Clarkson's songs, very catchy, and some are pretty gritty. Don't know many other contemporary artistes, but I do like me some James Morrison (aiyoh, his voice, can die!) and Michael Buble.

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