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Review: Sheryl Crow’s ‘Be Myself’ Is Her Toughest, Best in a Decade

Our take on the singer-songwriter’s return to rock

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Sheryl Crow's latest album is 'Be Myself.'

Mark Seliger

It’s no surprise Sheryl Crow has grown
into such a classic-rock sage – even when she was coming up in the Nineties,
she relished the role of a grizzled road warrior who sang about still getting
stoned and scraping mold off the bread. Her excellent new Be
is her toughest and best in a decade, a full-blown return to
her fierce rock-queen glory. She aims directly at the torn-and-frayed guitar
groove of her Nineties records, but with flourishes of her recent detours into
Memphis soul and Nashville country. Crow flashes her nasty streak in
the highlight “Heartbeat Away,” where her bluesy guitar sounds as
pissed off as her voice – she rages against crooks who steal both elections (“Russia’s
blowing up the phone”) and loot, snarling, “Ain’t no silver in the
bank vaults/There’s just paper where the money used to be.” Her winding
road takes her through lovelorn laments (“Strangers Again”) and
yoga-mama romance (“Rest of Me”). Crow’s a grown-up with doubts
about all this clicking the kids are into – one of the kickiest pop gems here
has the chorus, “Put your phone away, let’s roller skate.” Yet Be
 has a well-tooled sheen, crafted with her old-time comrades Jeff
Trott and Tchad Blake; “Halfway There” choogles like a weird lost
collabo between the Cars and Al Green. She sounds mournful when sings “anger
makes the world go round” – yet that angry edge helps keep Crow burning
bright in dark times.


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