This past Friday, Sheryl Crow released her ninth album Be Yourself. The first since her 2013 country record Feels Like Home. Despite having not had a major hit in nearly 15 years, Sheryl has continued recording and releasing new material and is perhaps the most consistent recording artist to emerge this side of the 80s. Even though her most prominent songs are her 90s hits, she’s released a wide range of music since then from upbeat summer pop songs to a Motown-influenced record to a traditional country album and and a Bond theme.
Here’s a Sheryl Crow refresher:
All I Wanna Do (1994)
Sheryl’s breakthrough was one of the biggest hits of 1994. An inescapable song with a catchy sing-along chorus that was as viral as any pop song could be in the 90s. It’s hard to imagine a twangy southern-guitar-pop by a 30-something was the song of the summer but it happened – and it still sounds amazing on roadtrips!
Run, Baby, Run (1994)
This track from Sheryl’s first album Tuesday Night Music Club captures the essence of Sheryl’s earlier music and the southern pop/rock sound of the 90s into the 2000s. While it didn’t perform as well as the other singles from the album, it became a highlight of her early discography and it isn’t a stretch to call it a 90s classic.
If It Makes You Happy (1996)
The lead single from her sophomore record, If It Makes You Happy marked a grittier more rocking sound for Sheryl, who seemed to embrace a sexy side not seen in her prior music videos. Much like All I Wanna Do, this song was centred around a chorus that stood out among a sea of pop/rock hits of the day, helping to ensure Sheryl wasn’t a one-album-wonder.
Hard To Make A Stand (1996)
Sheryl’s second album is considered by many to be her best. She flirted with politics in the lyrics and took on a stronger presence on the album, stepping in as the sole producer. Hard To Make A Stand was one of the album’s many highlights, led by a single electric guitar and mainly sparse instrumentation.
My Favorite Mistake (1998)
Sheryl took a different and more personal approach to recording her third album and the evidence is clear on the first single My Favorite Mistake. The song received a lot of speculation as to who it was about, from Eric Clapton to Jakob Dylan, but Sheryl chose not to divulge that information, and cites this as one of her favourites.
Sweet Child O Mine (2000)
Sheryl had a string of covers of rock classics that didn’t meet the approval of rock fans. Her cover of Led Zeppelin‘s D’yer Maker was a minor hit in 1995 and in 2000 she recorded Guns N’ Roses‘ Sweet Child O Mine that was panned across the board. Neither stuck particularly close to their originals, and no cover really should be. The only thing I could gather from the almost universal criticism was that she’s a woman recording a man’s song. Sheryl rocked both.
The First Cut Is The Deepest (2003)
Here’s a cover that showcased Sheryl’s country-side more than her previous material, and was an instant success. It might have been long overblown, thanks to years of radio play and its release just after the Kid Rock duet Picture, but this is one of Sheryl’s sweetest recordings. Two versions appear on her The Very Best Of collection. The country version captures more emotion.
Shine Over Babylon (2008)
After nearly two terms of W Bush’s presidency, Sheryl was heavily involved with politics and prior to the release of her underrated record Detours, she put out this track, a socially and environmentally aware folk rock song that called out environmental abuse for monetary gain. It wasn’t a hit but it was a late-career highlight.
Sheryl’s country record was very on-the-nose and obvious in its attempts to be as country-sounding as possible. Easy was a fun breezy single from the record that isn’t particularly special but 20 years after the release of her original fun breezy smash All I Wanna Do, showed she still got it.
This list is just the surface. Of course there are more songs to dust off and play back like Soak Up The Sun, Strong Enough, There Goes The Neighbourhood and Everyday Is A Winding Road. Or check out her new album Be Myself!