Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Split Decision On Tuesday Night Music Club Sheryl Crow's Less-Than-Stellar Debut.

The Good: Some good lyrics
The Bad: Limited vocal range, unimaginative musically
The Basics: Borrow a friend's copy - it's way too inconsistent to hold lasting interest.

It's tough to sell Tuesday Night Music Club more than fifteen years on the market. The immediacy of the singles "Leaving Las Vegas," "All I Wanna Do," "Strong Enough," and "Can't Cry Anymore" made for a high sales number back in 1993-4 but now, it's hard to look at the four singles and not admit that only two ("Leaving Las Vegas" and "Strong Enough") were actually decent tracks.

That's the crux of my lingering ambivalence toward Tuesday Night Music Club, the music is old and it sounds it. There's nothing that was even particularly groundbreaking about Tuesday Night Music Club at the time it was released, a fact which is amplified now years later when I occasionally put this c.d. in and am disappointed by Sheryl Crow's limited musical range.

Why do I keep the album around then? Well, it's a fifty-fifty split in the final analysis: Six of the songs are good, five less so. It's more like three of the tracks (the two aforementioned singles plus the excellent "I Shall Believe") are great, six are fair, and two are just plain bad ("Can't Cry Anymore" and "The Na-Na Song"). The three tracks would make it worth keeping around, save that they are as easily available on The Very Best Of Sheryl Crow. As a result, it is impossible for me to recommend the album because it's not a great album. It's such a mixed bag that it becomes impossible to overlook the poor engineering and limited vocal range on the merit of the lyrics alone. Some of the lyrics aren't even good.

Here, Tuesday Night Music Club is erratic at best. In many ways, the eleven-song album is an obvious pop-rock album with a strong female voice. Sheryl Crow includes folk-rock sensibilities about social issues ("The Na-Na Song") with Country sensibilities about freedom and fidelity ("Run, Baby, Run," "I Shall Believe") with obvious pop vacuousness ("All I Wanna Do"). While stylistic diversity does not mean sloppy on this album, it seems like Crow is struggling to find her voice.

This is not aided by the fact that Sheryl Crow is only a co-writer on every songs, sometimes alongside four other people! As well, the album was produced by Bill Bottrell (not Crow herself). The resulting album has Crow singing and playing her own guitar, but the lyrics are only collaboratively hers and her voice is produced to be sublimated to instrumentals on several songs. Here, as well, fans are likely to be frustrated because the social consciousness that Crow developed on later albums is noticeably absent here on her debut.

Sheryl Crow's debut doesn't quite know what it is and, after years of trying to figure out, I'm giving up because all I know is it's inconsistent. The best track is "I Shall Believe" and the weakest link is "Can't Cry Anymore."

For other works by strong female vocalists, please check out my reviews of:
Dar Williams - The Honesty Room
Natalie Imbruglia -  Left Of The Middle
The Bird And The Bee - Interpreting The Masters Volume 1: A Tribute To Daryl Hall & John Oates


For other music reviews, please check out my index page!

© 2010, 2009, 2001 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

| | |

No comments:

Post a Comment