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Although Wildflower isnt Sheryl Crows most impressive album, or her most original it is my favourite, 12 songs of sprawling, experimental, chilled songs that display her immense talent and manage to strike a real chord. It has a really adult, contempory feel to it that always catches me off guard and I cant help but be absorbed in the disarming, often enchanting album that has a really nice balance of ballad and up tempo country/rock. Wildflower seems to have a dream like quality to it, as the songs slowly bleed into each other with a pleasing new age twang, Crow and her gang of musicians craft a gorgeous world of hippy-dippy sentimentality and hard edged anger that always engages me. I never really liked Sheryl Crow under I hit my twenties and now she has to rank as one of my favourite female vocalists, I love her sweet but powerful voice that hides just enough country finesse to keep me smiling and think she always produces polished, intriguing albums that have really intelligent, evocative lyrics and a real moments feeling. When I listen to Wildflower it always reminds me of a really great movie soundtrack in the sense that it provokes emotions, it enhances simple moments and is just great for easy listening, sleepy Sunday mornings without being to slow. It is just brimming with life and is exactly like its title, beautiful, flawed, full of strength, pleasing, disarming, dizzyingly creative and breathtaking.
I Know Why: Written By Sheryl Crow: A really nicely upbeat song that has a nice chorus and well formed lyrics. It is a song about seizing opportunities when you can and lost loves with Crow singing with a beautiful clarity only backed by a meandering acoustic guitar, it contains a catchy but thought provoking chorus and the song has a nice descriptive feel to it that helps the listeners invisible her songs and builds a nice atmosphere.
Perfect Lie: Written By Sheryl Crow: Another intelligent, dreamy pop single that may be Sheryls best vocal performance on the album, she displays real range as the song progresses, aided by a almost hippy influenced backing track her vocals wash over you with a pleasing balance of country and husky rock. It is a song about living a lie and love (as it seems are all the song songs on the album.) I really like this one and I do like listening to it when I feel a bit down.
Good Is Good: Written By Sheryl Crow and Jeff Trott: Without doubt the high light of the whole album for me, a beautiful, enchanting piece of rock/pop that has a real message and Crow on top form. Her vocals really do manage to take you away on this one they really do hint of legendary status as her poise and strength take you on a little four minute journey. It has a really wonderful backing track that consists of an electric guitar and an acoustic one I think. It has a great rawness to it that compliments her voice perfectly and one of the punchiest, smile inducing choruses in history, truly a mini masterpiece.
Chances Are: Written By Sheryl Crow: This is one of the most spaced songs on the album, it defiantly has Asian influences as well as sounding like a song someone would sing whilst in a drug indused coma, all slow and thoughtful. It isnt my favourite because it is a little bit too different and feels a little bit like a novelty, but it is still a very polished and accomplished piece of pop. The writing is good with vague messages about the harshness of globalisation and going against gods creation.
Wildflower: Written By Sheryl Crow: One of the more unique singles of the album, Crows dreamy vocals add real spark to this original song that is very dream like. It has a very engaging oddness about it and after a few listens I really began to enjoy it, because of its wonderful pace, travelling backing music and the lyrics that are simply haunting. Wildflower is an intriguing, engaging treat that takes Crows voice on a new path and gives the album a new direction.
Lifetimes: written By Sheryl Crow and Jeff Trott: A very memorable, hyper contemporary piece of funky infectious pop with a consistently cheery tone and a nicely rounded feel to it. It has Crown singing even at the worst of times, I give my best to you with more of a country influence than the rest of the songs. I wouldnt suggest that it is the best song on the album, or the freshest, but it is a slight slice of good ol country and western funk.
Letter To God: Written by Sheryl Crow: When I heard the title of this song I was a bit dubious and thought that it would be a preachy/tacky ballad, but actually it is angst pop at it best. Infectiously tuneful and with a message that resonates it is a real treat and another direction for Crow to show both her talents as a lyricist and vocalist, her strong and clear voice is perfectly suited to this type of song that faintly reminds me of Alanis Morissette with a quicker beat, a really catchy, thought provoking, well sung pop anthem.
Live it Up: Written Sheryl Crow: As the title suggests this is one of the most lively songs on the album and reminds me of happy days surfing and drinking Pina Coladas on the beach. It is a great piece of fluffy but infectious fun and sun song that is reminiscent of CMon CMon one of Sheryl Crows more recent albums.- I could very well imagine cool surfers listening to this on the sun light beach and it wouldnt be out of place at the end of a party when everyone is tired and needs some picking up. Its a fun filled, energetic, dance worthy tune without be bitterly saccharine.
I Dont Wanna Know: Written by Sheryl Crow and Jeff Trott: A mellow, dark but never the less beautiful podium for Crows engaging talent and lyrical voice. A slower more thought provoking song that has a thumping backing beat and a great guitar riff, however the polished backing track is nothing compared to the magnificence of Sheryls voice; clear, husky, seductive and emotive. Overall very nice lyrics and a more mellow sound than some of the livelier pop singles.
Always On Your Side: Written By Sheryl Crow: A truly sparkling ballad, breathtakingly simple in set up: Sheryl and a tinkering piano, but with so many layers of inspired lyricism and a really unique and emotional atmosphere that it transforms itself into something really original. Crow does reflection perfectly and this is a rambling ballad of epic proportions with a sense of contemplation and desperate emotion that you can almost taste in you mouth. It really is a devastating, tremendous, breathtaking single about staying with the person you love.
Where Has All The Love Gone: Written By Sheryl Crow and Jeff Trott: A mix of poignant balladry and uplifting country about making your way through the world and struggling for an identity. A really nice if a little ordinary song that will do no harm to Crow because it really is good, but it just reeks a bit too much of Dawson Creek inspired sentimentality to be a true Crow classic. It does have a nice conclusion though with a scrambling guitar and Crow again displaying talent, would be perfect on the soundtrack to a Hollywood weepy.
The actual packaging to Wildflower is really beautiful and reflects the overall tone and texture of the music, as you can probably see from the picture above, the sleeve starts with a beautiful picture of Sheryl sitting amongst beautifully animated flowers. Like much of the album the front cover is split into two halves, one being predominantly black with grey plants entwining themselves around her arm and the other side is white and filled with flourishing plants of lime green and yellow with crudely drawn but oddly endearing rain clouds up ahead. Personally I believe that this represents the uplifting and more thought provoking songs on the album of course this is completely open to interpretation- and just really sparked my imagination and like the collection of songs made me stop and look deeper. In the actual booklet are all the lyrics to each song clearly presented and some really moody and imaginative pictures of Crow who looks really beautiful.-
Wildflower is one of favourite albums at the moment; I listen to it on my way to work and on Sunday mornings when I can tear the Michael Buble album from Aimees hand (I think she has s REALLY unhealthy obsession with that man) and completely enjoy it each and every time that I listen to it. Its a beautifully wild, absorbing journey from track one to eleven. Oh and watch out for the bonus track is available on the cd/dvd combination.
I think that it is very good value for money considering that Wildflower is £4.97 on amazon.co.uk or £3.97 on the marketplace. I have seen it for as little £0.99 on Ebay. The CD+DVD Combination can be bought for around £13 from many internet sites.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 I Know Why
2 Perfect Lie
3 Good Is Good
4 Chances Are
7 Letter To God
8 Live It Up
9 I Don't Wanna Know
10 Always On Your Side
11 Where Has All The Love Gone
13 Where Has All The Love Gone