Sunday, November 20, 2011

C'Mon, C'Mon: Even Sheryl Crow Has A Terribly Indistinct Album!

The Good: One or two interesting tunes.
The Bad: Terrible rhymes, Uninspired guitarwork, Short
The Basics: Arguably the worst album Sheryl Crow ever produced, Sheryl Crow is accompanied by many friends on an unmemorable musical odyssey.

Sheryl Crow has, if anything, surprised me as my Artist Of The Month. Her albums are more consistent than I originally thought they would be and I have generally enjoyed her works. As I find myself spinning her last few albums, I am left looking toward my next Artist Of The Month and I was nowhere near as happy about that as one might suspect until I came across Crow's album C'Mon, C'Mon.

C'Mon, C'Mon is the Sheryl Crow album probably best known for her song "Soak Up The Sun" and the album is largely pop-rock and it is boring. This album is, by a fair margin, the worst Sheryl Crow album I've yet heard and I came to the album without any bias. In fact, the only songs I knew from the album were the first two; "Steve McQueen" (which I liked) and "Soak Up The Sun." C'Mon, C'Mon is obvious pop-rock with little statement, originality or even hooks to keep one listening to it. After the generic rock of "Steve McQueen" (which would have fit in better on The Globe Sessions or Sheryl Crow) the album becomes sugary and pop-heavy in ways that are thoroughly unmemorable. Indeed, were it not for the massive replayings of "Soak Up The Sun" when that was released as a single, there would not be a single track on C'Mon, C'Mon that would be memorable.

With thirteen songs, clocking out at 56:32, Sheryl Crow's C'Mon, C'Mon is derivative, poorly written and performed with average-at-best vocals. Unfortunately for her, Sheryl Crow bears the brunt of the responsibility for this album and as such, the credit or blame is hers. Crow wrote five of the songs and co-wrote the other eight. She performs all of the lead vocals and she plays instruments - piano, guitars, bass, even marraccas - on every track. As well, she produced the album, though three of the songs were co-produced with her collaborative artists. Still, this seems to be largely the vision of Sheryl Crow.

One of the big problems, though, is this album - more than any of Crow's other works - seems dependent upon the collaborations of others. Don Henley appears on "It's So Easy" and the song is much more a duet than it is credited with. Stevie Nicks lends her very recognizable backing vocals to "C'mon, C'mon" (the single) and "Diamond Road." Indeed, Crow relies on friends on many of the tracks, including Emmylou Harris, Natalie Maines, and Lenny Kravitz. Even Gwyneth Paltrow appears for backing vocals on a song ("It's Only Love")! The issue here is not that Crow relies on her friends to beef up the album, but rather that the result is not to create anything extraordinary. In fact, Liz Phair's vocal contribution to "Soak Up The Sun" adds nothing great and the songs Crow has guest vocalists backing or supporting her on do little other than hide her own mediocre vocals on the album. This album showcases little of Crow's range and she does not articulate anything incredibly well on C'Mon, C'Mon.

Instrumentally, this is probably Crow's least ambitious album to date, as well. Even her debut was less obviously straightforward pop-rock. C'Mon, C'Mon is largely guitar, bass, and drums, track after track after track. "Over You" has a slightly more anthemic sound to it, but it is essentially the same three instruments produced to sound bigger and deeper. The overall sound and feel of the album is generic guitar and bass-driven pop-rock which is utterly unmemorable.

Thematically, C'Mon, C'Mon lacks any real social commentary or insight into anything essentially human. This is a sunny album that is mostly fluff, of little substance and of little consequence. The songs are upbeat sounding and by the end of the album, one has a generally upbeat feeling, but it is one that comes with little memory of what one has heard. This is a classic indistinct album; no matter how many times I listen to it, it becomes background music and leaves no impression. Crow has no lines which stick out and the overall feeling of the album is that she is not saying anything important.

What she does say, Crow says over and over again. Indeed, part of what makes "Soak Up The Sun" such an annoying radio track is that the dippy refrain is repeated so many times with that hypnotic tune and lines that are just canned. Unfortunately, this is not the only song on the album like that. "You're An Original," for example, has a terrible rhyme scheme. On that, Crow sings without any sense of irony "Give us what you got / Girl you got a lot / Seems you got an / Itch that's scratching / Lay it like it plays / Play it like it lays / All your Easter eggs are hatching / In your Cadillac/ Reaching for your jack / There's nothing we can tell you / Just a little queen / Dirty mouth and mean / There's nothing we can sell you" ("You're An Original"). Before this, there was no evidence that Crow was stuck at the Dr. Seuss School Of Rhyming, but there it is.

In addition to the indistinct vocals and lack of instrumental hook, C'Mon, C'Mon is hampered by songs and sounds that are derivative. The title track, for example, sounds remarkably like "The First Cut Is The Deepest" when it opens and Crow sounds like Melissa Etheridge when she begins singing on that song. "Diamond Road" has a singsong melody to it that is annoyingly familiar as well and the guitarwork that opens "It's Only Love" sounds suspiciously like the opening to "I Hope You Dance."

At the end of it all, C'Mon, C'Mon is just an easy album to pass by because it lacks substance and originality. Those looking for a good Sheryl Crow or pop-rock experience will find better options . . . pretty much anywhere.

The best track is "Steve McQueen," the rest of the album is entirely forgettable.

For other works by Sheryl Crow, please visit my reviews of:
Tuesday Night Music Club
Sheryl Crow
The Globe Sessions
The Very Best Of Sheryl Crow


For other music reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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