By Aaron Krein
Singer/Songwriter Sheryl Crow is currently gearing up for the release of her tenth studio album, “Be Myself.” It will be her second album with Warner Bros. Records, following her 2013 country project, “Feels Like Home.”
She will also be reuniting with producer Jeff Trott, whom she worked with on several hits since her second album in 1996.The album promises a return to the pop/rock Crow audiences fell in love with in the mid-’90s with a twist.
Crow has released three promotional singles in the past month, proving she is true to her word.
The first single, “Halfway There,” was released in early March. The first ten seconds alone sound like “My Favorite Mistake,” one of Crow’s major hits from 1998.
The funky guitar jam focuses on Crow trying to get her lover to make a compromise to their constant arguments.
In true Crow fashion, the track namedrops many brands to personify the song, such as Hummer, Armani and Volt.
The repetitive chorus mixed with the horn section also reminds me of some of her tracks from the “C’Mon C’Mon” era. One thing made clear is that you can tell that her vocals have aged when put against her original style and sound.
However, Crow still sounds full of soul and personality. Grammy-winning guitarist Gary Clark Jr. also appears on the track.
The single also has an accompanying stop-motion animated music video that includes appearances from the RCA Nipper, a bunch of UFOs, and high profile people whom may have had public disagreements.
“Long Way Back” sees Crow incorporating her country influences from her last record mixed with a raw “Globe Sessions”-esque delivery.
The track is about finding a way to relieve stress that one endures from day to day life. The line, “taking the long way back home,” seems to be a metaphor for the long journey that we all take toward happiness consistently.
She also references a man having a heart attack as her incentive for quitting smoking cigarettes. On her YouTube channel, Crow stated that the track was inspired by the “cynicism” that has grown on the nation since the start of the 2016 presidential election season.
The tune has a peaceful vibe with optimistic lyrics but still holds a melancholy feeling. The background vocals, especially during the chorus, really help lift the track to emotional heights.
The title track, however, is by far the highlight of the three singles. The track shows the lyrical genius that Crow has been that has earned her nine Grammys.
“Be Myself” opens up with her talking about her shrink telling her that she can’t be helped from who she is as a person. So, lamenting that she can’t be anyone else, she sings with a bluesy tone that she might as well be true to the kind of person she is meant to be.
This is the kind of track that could explode on adult contemporary radio in the vein of tracks like “All I Wanna Do” and “Soak Up the Sun.” The song also finds Crow criticizing the “selfie” generation and details in the second verse that she is unable to relate.
Like the first track, she namedrops current fads such as Snapchat, Twitter and Uber.
All three tracks are solid and have me anticipating the full set, slated for a release this Friday.
Crow has always been an artist who has released honest and upfront material that I’ve grown up listening to since my early childhood.
Despite not being able to fully embrace her last two albums, these tracks seem like a sign that this will be something worth paying attention to.
If you are fan of Crow’s earlier work and you’re wondering how she is putting a new spin on her sound, I recommend give these tracks a listen.