Sheryl: Music from the Feature Documentary

Sheryl Crow

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Sheryl: Music from the Feature Documentary Review

by Timothy Monger

This career-spanning soundtrack to the documentary film Sheryl is both a testament to Sheryl Crow's staying power and a generous overview of the singer/songwriter's range of strengths. Since landing in the mainstream with 1993's good-time smash "All I Wanna Do," Crow has amassed a remarkably consistent catalog chock-a-block with undeniable hooks and tightly crafted songwriting that evokes rock's storied past while connecting squarely with its present. She was already something of a seasoned veteran by the time the spotlight found her -- she toured as a backing vocalist for Michael Jackson, wrote jingles, and logged studio sessions with artists like Don Henley and Stevie Wonder -- and it showed in the music she made which was immediate enough to satisfy the pop charts, but felt lived-in and relatable. Similar to Tom Petty, Crow's combination of classic roots rock and modern production touches helped make radio anthems out of songs like "If It Makes You Happy," "Everyday Is a Winding Road," and "Soak Up the Sun." By the mid-2000s, she'd won a clutch of Grammy Awards, collaborated with Prince, written a James Bond theme, and established herself as one of rock's perennial mainstays with a platinum-selling greatest-hits album to her credit. As the documentary attests, maintaining a continued sense of relevance -- not to mention a high level of quality -- in the music industry is no easy feat. Through her struggles with fame, sexism, public romances, and cancer, Crow's journey plays out in her emotional honesty and depth of craft, beginning with her '90s origins all the way up to Threads, the epic 2019 duets album which featured contributions from Mavis Staples, Sting, Bonnie Raitt, and Keith Richards, among others. Along with grooving set staples like "Leaving Las Vegas" and "My Favorite Mistake" are deeper cuts like the serpentine "Riverwide" and the spectral, bluesy "Crash and Burn." There are also a pair of new songs including the excellent "Forever," an appropriately reflective ballad with a loose, vaguely psychedelic Beatles-ish tint to it. There are already a handful of Crow anthologies on the market, but this soundtrack is easily the most thorough retrospective of her impressive career.

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