Review: Jack Foley
SHERYL Crow's sixth studio album, Wildflower, probably
rates among the most pensive of her career but remains a thoroughly
enjoyable listen to boot.
There is something effortlessly calming about her glistening
vocals that bring with them a welcome and knowing sense of familiarity.
Take her most recent single, Good Is Good, for instance,
which features some fine Dylan-esque slide guitar before easing
into Crow's sultry vocals.
It's classic Crow in style and washes over you with all the polished
production values fans have come to expect.
The same high values are embodied in the rest of the long-player,
even though, as stated, things tend to be a little more pensive
Only a handful of tracks recall the breezy abandon of earlier
work such as Every Day Is A Winding Road but fans probably
Tracks like Chances Are feel far more reflective, especially
when enshrined in lyrics such as 'I was lost inside a daydream,
swimming through the saline'.
Once again, however, Crow's sweet vocals are augmented by a beguiling
guitar riff that hovers over the daydream like a humming bird.
Title track, Wildflower, is another tender ballad, more
akin to the soft, whispery style of Katie Melua than Crow's breezier
country moments - but it is evidence of an artist who continues
to mature, complete with a cinematic strings section.
For this reviewer, however, the highlights come in the form of
the livelier tracks, such as the joyously upbeat Lifetimes,
with its hammond organ and clap-happy beat.
Lyrically, it's also quite enchanting, featuring a catchy chorus
that boasts 'we could live lifetimes in a single day, no matter
what you do I love you anyway'.
Likewise, Live It Up which opens in similarly lively
fashion and boasts some cheeky, ironic lyrics that give way into
a genuinely rousing chorus.
Elsewhere, there is a gentle melancholy surrounding the piano-driven
Always on Your Side that is mirrored in the forthcoming
single, Where Has All The Love Gone, a musically more
upbeat effort that still casts a disenchanted eye over the state
of the world as it stands today.
Its wimsical lyrics underline the pensive tone of the album,
opening with the telling line 'today, I saw the strangest thing
on the evening news, a man who isn't sad at all by what's going
What's more, it comes with a vocally assured, multi-layered chorus
and another enchanting string arrangement that serves to emphasise
the overall quality of Crow's songwriting.
Another future single, I Know Why, opens the album in
similarly impressive fashion, this time incorporating some banjo.
It serves to ensure that the intelligent, provocative and enchanting
Wildflower blossoms into one of Crow's finest albums