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Sheryl Crow - Detours

Sheryl Crow, Detours

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4.5 out of 5

SHERYL Crow describes her latest album Detours as “the most honest record” she’s ever made. It’s also one of her very best.

The LP marks the return of producer Bill Bottrell, who previously worked with Crow on her debut Tuesday Night Music Club, which earned three Grammy Awards and sold more than 10 million copies. Don’t bet against a repeat.

It’s one of the most politically and personally outspoken records of Crow’s career and evidence of the artist at her most defiant and assured. It’s also a very diverse collection of songs, flitting from the feelgood romanticism of Love Is Free to the quiet anger of God Bless This Mess and the unrepentent fury of Gasoline or Shine Over Babylon.

Album opener God Bless This Mess gets things off to a flyer – a lone acoustic guitar belying the frustration that’s evident in the hard-hitting lyrics that help to make the track so memorable. Witness lines like: “I heard about the day that two skyscrapers came down, firemen and policemen people came from all around, the smoke covered the city and the body count did rise, the president spoke words of comfort with teardrops in his eyes, then he led us as a nation into a war based on lies.”

It’s followed by the more obviously angry Shine Over Babylon, where Crow’s vocals are more emphatic and the drums and guitars are more pronounced. It builds to a terrific chorus and is filled with religious imagery.

Love Is Free, for me, remains a joyous anthem that celebrates love and is the kind of track that should put a smile on anyone’s face. It’s jangly guitars and sunshine vibe arrive at just the right time on the album and ensure that it doesn’t descend into too much preachiness.

Peace Be Upon Us benefits from an Eastern influence and includes a wonderful vocal turn from Ahmed Al Hirmi that really works well in tandem with Crow’s distinct voice. It boasts another strong chorus.

Thereafter comes one of the album’s biggest highlights, Gasoline – which clearly takes its musical inspiration from the likes of The Rolling Stones’ Harlem Shuffle and Gimme Shelter as well as Glen Frey’s Smuggler’s Blues vocally. It’s another cracking change of pace and drops some suitably incendiary lyrics over its “yeah yeah yeah” laden chorus.

Out Of Our Heads balances an impossibly upbeat guitar strum and back beat with some more emotive lyrics (“losing babies to genocide, oh where’s the meaning in that plight”), while title track Detours is dripping in melody and features one of the most vulnerable vocal turns on the LP.

Now That You’re Gone, on the other hand, is long on yearning vocals and bluesy guitar work.

The album then drops in quality slightly during Drunk With The Thought Of You and Diamond Ring – both nice songs in their own way, but which don’t really stretch Crow like the rest of the album has.

It gave rise to suspicions that the album was running out of steam – but then it comes back strong with the excellent Motivation, which again features some impressive guitar work, and the moody Make It Go Away, which again elevates the LP to the very highest standard.

Final tracks Love Is All There Is (nicely upbeat), Lullaby For Wyatt (achingly personal) and Rise Up (a simply great listen) bring things to a typically strong finale to confirm that Crow has delivered an instant classic.

Detours is an album that’s not to be missed!

Download picks: God Bless This Mess, Love Is Free, Peace Be Upon Us, Gasoline, Out Of Our Heads, Motivation, Make It Go Away, Love Is All There Is

Track listing:

  1. God Bless This Mess
  2. Shine Over Babylon
  3. Love Is Free
  4. Peace Be Upon Us
  5. Gasoline
  6. Out Of Our Heads
  7. Detours
  8. Now That You’re Gone
  9. Drunk With The Thought Of You
  10. Diamond Ring
  11. Motivation
  12. Make It Go Away (Radiation Song)
  13. Love Is All There Is
  14. Lullaby For Wyatt
  15. Rise Up [bonus track]