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I guess I just like liking things

feelslikehomeA couple of weeks ago I was wandering through Best Buy (yes, I’m the guy that still shops there) and I happened to see there was a new Sheryl Crow album out. She is on my “immediately buy” list, so I kind of had to. I wasn’t done looking around, though, and as I walked around I tweeted something along the lines of “Internet, you’re supposed to tell me when Sheryl Crow has a new album out.” One of my friends replied, “You know that’s a country album, right?”

Hmm. I did not. After wandering around for a bit more, I put it back. I’m a big fan of Sheryl’s music, but not of country. I didn’t end up getting anything that day, as it happens.

Later that week I got to thinking about it some more. I had heard the song “Easy” before, and it had country-ish sounds to it, but it wasn’t drastically different from other stuff she’s done before. In fact, on her “The Very Best…” album, there were two versions of “The First Cut Is the Deepest,” and the second one was a “countrified” version. So I figured I’d give it a try. I was at Target for something else and figured I’d check the price on it there – it was a buck or two more, but it had two extra songs on it, so I went ahead and got it.  (Here’s where I could gripe about “store exclusive songs,” but y’all would just point out if I bought digital albums like a civilized person I could get whatever songs I wanted to.)

You know what? It’s all right. It’s still Sheryl’s voice, so it’s not a huge jump into twang – twang being my least favorite thing about country music. I mean, some of those guys are making that up, right?  And I’ve liked a few country things here and there (Shania Twain being the most modern example, but I tend more towards The Statler Brothers and The Oak Ridge Boys), so it wasn’t a huge shock to my system. After its week in my car, I’d find myself singing bits and pieces from a couple of the songs, and I was mostly okay with it.

She covers the gamut of country standards: there’s some heart-tugging family things, some boot-scootin’, a song about drinkin’ (not “drinking”), and a couple of songs that rely on a phrase that can be taken two ways and then is. It doesn’t feel like a departure for her at all, it really feels similar to things she’s done before and sounds like stuff she could’ve been doing all along. It’s never going to be my favorite album of hers, and none of the songs beats “If It Makes You Happy,” but I can see her sticking with it.

I don’t know music as a whole well enough to know how many other attempts there have been by singers to change genres – off the top of my head I can think of Amy Grant and Hootie – so I don’t know how well any of them have done. I’m curious if people tend to stick with singers or stick to genres.


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