Picks and Pans Review: Sheryl Crow
Her 1993 debut, Tuesday Night Music Club, sold 8 million copies and made the former backup singer for Michael Jackson and Don Henley a star. But industry insiders who remembered her earlier solo effort, a slick, soulless album that was mercifully never released, still wondered if Crow was the real thing or a multiplatinum one-hit phenom.
Well, if her new, country-tinged "If It Makes You Happy" (the first single from this catchy, confident CD) hasn't convinced the doubters yet, it's just a matter of time. Crow plays guitar and organ and wails her heart out. She also produced, wrote or cowrote all 13 of the album's songs. The opener, "Maybe Angels," an arena-sized rocker, settles into a bluesy groove. Two standout tracks that follow—"Hard to Make a Stand" and "Everyday Is a Winding Road"—bristle with enough radio-friendly hooks to make them almost surefire hits.
Gearing into ballad mode on "Oh Marie," a sad portrait of a party girl, Crow (who has admitted to battling depression in the past) plumbs the emotional depths. In fact all of the songs written by Crow—which include "Home" and "Ordinary Morning"—journey into a dark, deceptive terrain. But it is a satisfying journey indeed. (A&M)