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February 07, 2008

Sheryl Crow, 'Detours'



Even though she says she was joking at that global warming discussion at the White House correspondents' dinner, the one where she suggested we limit ourselves to one sheet of toilet paper for environmental reasons, the comment still gained traction. There has always been a bit of the airhead in Sheryl Crow's music and wispy vocal delivery. She set that stage with the featherweight pop of her first big hit, "All I Wanna Do," from her 1993 Grammy-winning "Tuesday Night Music Club" CD.

The big news here is that Crow reunites with "Tuesday Night" producer Bill Bottrell for a set of equally catchy pop/rock songs (one features Arabic vocals from guest singer Ahmed Al Hirmi). This is not her rumored country disc. But it's also a minor let-down as the follow-up to her simplest, yet musically richest set yet, 2005's "Wildflower."

Crow's believability comes into question on political songs like the Dylan-ish "God Bless This Mess" in which she slams President Bush for leading "a nation into a war all based on lies" or the "All I Wanna Do"-frothy single "Love Is Free," a post-Katrina New Orleans ditty. "Gasoline," meanwhile, is a futuristic ode about a revolution over high gas prices.

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Noble sentiments, perhaps, but coming from Crow, lightweight. She is much better off on a harmonious George Harrison pastiche such as "Out of Our Heads" or the plush, melodic pop of the title track.

- McClatchy Newspapers




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