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One of my favourite singers of all time has to be Sheryl Crow as I just adore her voice and think she is an amazing lyricist even if sometimes her lyrics are a little kooky if you listen to them properly. Her songs always tell a story and as a bonus her music is great to sing along to in the car.
Over the span of her career she has released eight studio albums and sold more than 50 million records worldwide so she has an extensive back catalogue of songs. To get a good taste of her style and music then her greatest hits album 'The Very Best of Sheryl Crow' is a good place to start as it contains nearly all her major hits in the one place.
The album starts with All I Wanna Do which was her first hit from way back in 1994 (I can't believe it was that long ago). While this is a brilliant song and has amazing replay value it isn't very indicative of the rest of the album. The song is just too happy and sprightly in comparison with the rest of the album even though the lyrics are a little bit darker than you might imagine given the lightness of the melody. It is still one of my favourites to play in the car though on a long journey. The second song on the album is a later hit Soak up the Sun and again it is a little bit happier than the other songs but like most Sheryl Crow songs it has a great hook and it makes you want to bob your head along to it.
The rest of the album is made up of songs which are a little bit edgier and more rockier but there are a few country songs thrown in for good measure. Crows voice is perfect for country tracks and she manages to convey the melancholy of the lyrics perfectly. Picture is a perfect example of this. It is a duet with Kid Rock who was her boyfriend at the time and it is a country/rock hybrid song about a couple who have broken up but are still in love with each other. The usual sort of thing but both Crow and Rock manage to elevate it from the usual generic country song and make it something much more. Kid Rocks record label couldn't get permission from Crows to release it as a single so it was rerecorded with Allison Moorer an American country singer singing the part that was originally Crows and having listened to both version the one on this album is far superior.
As you would expect the album contains all her greatest hits and the songs that you would expect to be included on the album are all here. There is Everyday Is A Winding Road, If It Makes You Happy, Leaving Las Vegas, Run Baby Run, A Change Would Do You Good and My Favourite Mistake. All these songs have stood the test of time and to me they don't sound dated in any way and could still be released tomorrow and sound new and fresh. If It Makes You Happy with its immediately recognizable guitar riff and its catchy chorus is a personal highlight and my ultimate favourite driving song. Again although the lyrics are darker than the melody suggests there is something about it which is ultimately uplifting.
One of the things that really distinguish Sheryl Crow from a lot of other winger songwriters for me is the strength of her writing. She isn't afraid to tackle issues such as racism, violence towards women, prostitution, depression and even abortion but she writes them in a way that makes the songs still accessible to everyone without being too preachy. It doesn't hurt that some of the lyrics are completely bonkers and make no sense as this appeals to me. Through it all though she manages to sing with passion and conviction which elevates the songs above what they might have been otherwise.
I think this is the essential collection of Sheryl Crow tracks. There are some absolutely classic songs on this album and for fans who already own some of the albums that the songs came from there is the inclusion of some new tracks including a cover of The First Cut is The Deepest which was released as a single to promote this album and ended up being a big hit. There are a couple of other unreleased songs here which aren't as strong as the rest of the album but still good and on a normal album would be considered great but up against these hits they just can't compete.
The album is available as either a physical disc or a digital copy. I bought the physical disc when it first came out but as it is one of my favourite albums I have also got the digital version and I still listen to it often so it has great replay value. I obviously have my favourite songs on the album but it is one of the few actual albums that I own where I don't have to skip tracks as all of them are strong tracks and there is no filler here as such as each of the tracks have something to recommend them and of course Crows voice sounds amazing on each and every track.
1. All I Wanna Do
2. Soak Up The Sun
3.My Favourite Mistake
4.The First Cut Is The Deepest
5. Everyday Is A Winding Road
6. Leaving Las Vegas
7. Strong Enough
8. Light In Your Eyes
9. If It Makes You Happy
10. Run, Baby, Run
11. Picture (Kid Rock Duet Version)
12. C'mon C'mon (Corrs Version)
13. A Change Would Do You Good
14. Home (Album Version)
15. There Goes The Neighbourhood
16. I Shall Believe
17. Let's Get Free
Sheryl Crow, I'm sure most of you have heard of her. Some of you may know one, two or maybe three of her singles (Everyone must know 'All I Wanna Do'). However, in my opinion Sheryl Crow is one of the most talented and inspirational singers and songwriters yet here in the U.K she does not get much recognition.
2003 saw Crow release her first Greatest Hits album, featuring most of the singles from the first four albums (Tuesday Night Music Club, Sheryl Crow, The Globe Sessions and 'Cmon Cmon). The album contains 17 songs including some of her best known songs, but also some of her lesser known singles which in my mind are just as good as, or if not better than the most successful songs.
With Sheryl it's hard to define her to one single genre of music, she's definitly a 'pop' star, but there are elements of 'country', 'rock', 'folk' and 'alternative' to some of her songs. Her Greatest Hits package has a mixture of these songs.
'All I Wanna Do' probably her best known song in the UK. It oozes a catchy chorus and is a bit of a feel-good anthem.
'Soak Up The Sun' is another anthemic 'feel good' track. It has that Californication summery Beach Boys vibe to it.
'My Favourite Mistake' is moody, alternative, very 90's sounding. yet instant. This is one of her best songs.
'The First Cut Is The Deepest' is THAT cover version. Not a bad effort, I actually prefer Sheryls version to the original.
'Everyday Is A Winding Road' is another of her well known hits. Catchy and very 90's sounding. Something you probably still hear on Heart FM.
'Leaving Las Vegas' was her first single. Didn't do that well in the UK.
'Strong Enough' another of her earlier unsuccessful singles here in the UK. Quite a country ballard-ey type track.
'Light In Your Eyes' - Quite a poppy song. Feel good.
'If It Makes You Happy' - Powerful, Rock/Pop Angry Alternative. Amazing.
'Run Baby Run' kind of blue-sey. Epic song.
'Picture' - Duet with Kid-Rock, lovely two-hander country ballad. Probably the most country sounding song so far on this album. Was released overseas but sadly not here which is a shame because it would have done quite well.
'Cmon Cmon' - "break my heart again for old times sake", features The Corrs (remember them). This wasn't a single so not sure why it's on the album. Nice little pop song about breaking up.
'A Change Would Do You Good' - Very 90's. Was released in the era of angry female singers (Alanis etc).
'Home' - Warm country ballad. Dreamy.
'There Goes The Neighbourhood' - Rocky and alternative with a kick ass chorus 'Sunshine Sally and Peter Ustanov don't like the scene anymore, I dropped acid on a Saturday night just to see what the fuss was about'.
'I Shall Believe' - The only song on the album that i'm not too fond of. A slow song, and boring.
'Let's Get Free' - Nice enough song.
This album showcases Sheryls Greatest Hits. It has a mix of her styles on the record although there are several of her singles missing (from when this album was released) like 'Anything But Down' 'Steve McQueen' and 'Hard To Make A Stand'.
If you want to explore Sheryls music then this would be a good place to start. It has the most radio-friendly stuff on it and these days it's only a couple of quite so defintly worth a purchase. Give it a go!
She might not have the face of Britney or the body of Christina, yet Sheryl remains a reliable source of musical entertainment. Delivering non threatening pop rock anthems with just the right hint of country about them.
Who is she:
US singer/songwriter Sheryl broke onto the UK music scene with her single 'All I Wanna Do'. Worldwide, she has shifted millions of albums.
On this album:
Collecting her best and biggest hits over the years, it starts, as it should with 'All I Wanna Do.' This has the most appetising guitar hook running through it, which transports you straight into some smoky bar in Nashville. It is a lightheaded song that sounds even better after a beer or two.
The glorious 'Soak Up The Sun' does what it says on the tin. A warm summery melody plays out as Sheryl breezes her way through the track, perfect for a summer's day. I rate 'Everyday Is A Winding Road' with a fine set of knowing lyrics and a great bit of guitar work. The lyrics are inspiring and the song leaves you feeling hopeful about the future. Head to 'Change Would Do You Good' which is a mid-tempo affair, in which Sheryl seems to purr her way through. The tune is not the the most exciting here, but the lyrics are a talking point and her ability to craft a story within three minutes is commendable. My final pick is 'Run, Baby, Run' which has a slow-burning feel about it and is one of those tracks you could imagine being played in a film when a couple are about to reunite.
No horrendous moments, though 'Light in Your Eyes' lacks the sparkle that some of the others have.
A sixteen track album with a handful of memorable hits and some ones you might not be overly familiar with. A good album to chill to on a lazy day
Ive always thought of Sheryl Crow as being a very middle of the road artist, kind of like a solo female version of Dire Straits inoffensive, but not especially appealing. Id vaguely enjoyed the singles shed released, but without ever becoming a fan, seeing them as a kind of background music, the kind of pop with a slight country edge that my parents might enjoy, but which never really enticed me to make an album purchase.
This makes me the perfect market for a Greatest Hits album. Ive often seen Greatest Hits albums as a bit of a rip off, usually because they add in a couple of new tracks, or new versions of old song to persuade the dedicated fan of the artist into buying yet another album. This time around, however, Im the other side of the intended market the casual fan who may be talked into buying an album by an artist he wouldnt usually and might just be good for repeat business if the materials good enough.
Unlike some Greatest Hits collections, Sheryl Crows doesnt put the songs in any kind of chronological order, starting instead with her biggest hit, All I Wanna Do. Its the ideal song to set the scene for the album, being a fairly typical pop song with country undertones that bounces along quite inoffensively. It does demonstrate that Sheryl Crow shares a keen observational eye when it comes to lyrics as Dire Straits Mark Knopfler.
Theres an interesting dance style intro to Soak up the Sun, which suggests its going to be a little different, but it soon segues into the standard Sheryl Crow style guitar led pop, and its virtually indistinguishable from the previous track, although the chorus is perhaps a little more sing along.
Theres a slightly rockier feel to the opening of My Favorite Mistake, led by an electric guitar, rather than the ever present acoustic. The general song is much the same as ever, though, a fairly melodic pop number, with more of a straight rock edge than a country-rock one and another decent melodic chorus.
Cat Stevens The First Cut is the Deepest has been covered by so many people over the years I can no longer recall the original. Unfortunately, Sheryl Crows version makes me wish I could, as its a really insipid pop ballad, proving that some songs are best left alone. It adds nothing to either the song, or Crows reputation.
Apart from a strange almost tribal drum beat in the background, Everyday is a Winding Road is back to what Sheryl Crow does best. Its a harmless, mid-tempo pop-country song with a chorus that hooks you, but nothing that really demands your attention.
Leaving Las Vegas has a much darker feel to it, being down tempo and heavier on the bass, and Crows vocals are a lot deeper. Unfortunately, this turns the song into a dirge, rather than the dark pop ballad it was probably intended to be. Along with The First Cut if the Deepest, this is probably my least favourite track on the album.
Theres a much more country sound to the guitar that opens Strong Enough, which continues through the song. Its more of a pop-country ballad than a genuine country song, but its something that wouldnt have felt too out of place with the Dixie Chicks, or maybe even the Corrs, performing it.
Its very much back to the normal Sheryl Crow sound on Light in Your Eyes. Its a bouncy, up-tempo pop track with a slight country sounding backing and a catchy chorus. What is slightly unusual for Sheryl Crow is that its a more upbeat sounding song than many of the others and the first that really gets your foot tapping.
Theres more of a rock intro to If it Makes You Happy that, much like Leaving Las Vegas carries over into the vocal. What this song has that the other lacks, however, is a catchy chorus and a more melodic feel mixed in with the dark tone that makes it sound like a pop-indie track, rather than a dirge, although the general feel of the song is dark enough to make the title feel a touch ironic.
Its back to the ballads with Run, Baby, Run, but retaining a fairly dark tone. Unusually, theres a prominent piano and the track is for the most part a standard pop ballad, although the song really only sticks out because its so downbeat. However, with the more melodic chorus, you could imagine this being performed by any of todays solo female pop artists and the vocals do sound a little like Delta Goodrem in parts, although the song as a whole would probably fit in best with Vanessa Carltons sound.
That Picture is a country tinged ballad is not real surprise from Sheryl Crow. What does come as a bit of a shock is that its a duet with rap-rock star Kid Rock. It was seeing the video to this song on MTV that finally persuaded me to buy the album, even more than Crows impressive back catalogue. Its a fairly sweet sounding country ballad, but with quite dark lyrics which were the reason the song appeals to me so much. Musically, you could picture Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton singing this one, but theyd certainly have wanted more upbeat lyrics.
Rather than including the single version, the inclusion of CMon, CMon is a previously unreleased version with the Corrs. It fits in well with the sound you might expect from both artists, being a mid-tempo pop heavy song with folk leanings and a catchy chorus. It does seems that the Corrs do little but give the song a slightly more folk sound and harmonies on the chorus and bridge, but are otherwise not particularly noticeable.
Its back to more familiar territory on A Change Would Do You Good, which is pure Sheryl Crow. Its a fairly jaunty mid-tempo pop song with a catchy hook and an underlying country sound.
Home is a bit of a cross between Picture and Leaving Las Vegas, being a slightly more country led down tempo pop song with a mournful sounding vocal. Unfortunately, like the latter, its another one that seems to drag you down with it.
Theres a snippet of conversation leading into There Goes the Neighborhood that would probably be considered a skit on a rap album and some very 1980s pop sounding handclaps and drumbeats leading into the song. However, its quite a rocky sounding song when this is done and sounds like it wouldnt be too out of place on Shania Twains Come On Over album, although its more to the pop end of her sound.
Its back to the mournful tone with I Shall Believe, which has the same effect as Home in that it seems to drag on, despite not being all that long a track. Its just a simple pop ballad that has nothing to distinguish it from anyone else and could have appeared on any female solo singers album without anyone really noticing.
The album ends with bonus track Lets Get Free, which at least ends the album on a more upbeat and more familiar note. Its much like CMon, CMon in sound, although a little slower in tempo. But its right on Sheryl Crows standard sound, being another country tinged pop song with a catchy chorus.
While the album as a whole is harmless, it serves mostly to remind me why Id never bought a Sheryl Crow album before now. The songs themselves are pretty good individually, but an album of 17 of them together playing for around 72 minutes is a bit too much for my tastes.
This is an album that doesnt quite fit anywhere. The choruses are a little too catchy for it to be background listening, as they can sneak your attention away from something else in parts. At the same time, however, theres nothing really bouncy enough for it to be a party album and its a little too repetitive to be something you could really listen to over and over. Strangely, this makes it perhaps the ideal CD to play in the car, as its not quite mundane enough that you could fall asleep at the wheel to it, yet not so catchy itll take your attention away from the road or inspire you to put your foot down.
If you have a passing interest in Sheryl Crow, as I did, this is the best album of hers to buy, as its got all of the main songs I can think of included. If youre a pop fan, there might be too much of a country edge for this to appeal yet if youre a country fan, probably not enough. If youre into Dire Straits, it may appeal as its gone that same largely inoffensive sound and its pop with a country edge, so Shania Twain and Faith Hill fans might enjoy parts.
Theres a lot of music here, but really only 3 or 4 different basic songs, repeated several times over. With that in mind, youd have to be a serious fan to pay £8.99 from play.com or £8.75 from CD-Wow. Someone like me who has enjoyed the singles individually might not be too displeased with a price of £3.99 from the Amazon Marketplace, but anyone with little more than a passing interest should try for copies on eBay, which have been seen from 99p.
My suppositions on Sheryl Crow as an artist are only strengthened by this album and I wish Id bought it for my Dad, rather than for myself. It passes some time, but there are better ways to spend an hour and a quarter and youd perhaps be better looking for them instead.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 All I Wanna Do
2 Soak Up the Sun
3 My Favorite Mistake
4 First Cut Is the Deepest
5 Everyday Is a Winding Road
6 Leaving Las Vegas
7 Strong Enough
8 Light in Your Eyes
9 If It Makes You Happy
10 Run, Baby, Run
11 Picture - Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock
12 C'mon, C'mon - The Corrs, Sheryl Crow
13 Change Would Do You Good
15 There Goes the Neighborhood
16 I Shall Believe