The Globe Sessions
A & M Records, 1998
REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/26/1998
Sheryl Crow is hopelessly stuck in the middle when it comes to the running pack of female artists today.
She's edgier than most of her Lillith Fair contemporaries, yet she doesn't have the theatrical zeal of a PJ Harvey or a Tori Amos. Less introspective than Liz Phair, not as risk-taking as Bjork and not as sassy as Missy Elliott or Lauren Hill, Crow is essentially the Everywoman of the pack.
After causing many radios to be smashed in 1994 from the played-to- death "All I Wanna Do," Crow continuted to soar higher, artistically. In 1996, she shocked critics by producing a self-titled album that was far superior to her smash, Tuesday Night Music Club.
She doesn't alter the formula much from that album on her latest album, The Globe Sessions. And for the most part, the formula doesn't need to be altered. Much like Sheryl Crow, The Globe Sessions relies heavily on groove-oriented R&B to propel her strongest songs. But on Sessions, it appears that Crow is relying more on blues and less on rhythm.
It's a decent risk, and for the most part, it pays off. But Crow needs to develop her chops more if she wants to trade riffs with the likes of Bonnie Raitt. Her voice is close to sounding like a seasoned blues artist, however. This may be because of events in her personal life that have happened since 1996.
Since then, Crow has dealt with the backlash of stardom from her peers and from her fans. He has also coped with the death of a close friend and that loss permeates through The Globe Sessions. "Am I Getting Through," "Crash And Burn" and the first single, "My Favorite Mistake," all deal with deteriorating relationships. "It Don't Hurt" deals with the post-breakup blues.
The Globe Sessions falls dangerously close to sinking midway through the album. After a beautiful first half, blandness sets in with songs like "Members Only" and "Anything But Down." "Anything But Down" is pure generic rock straight out of the Skynyrd bible. "The Different Kind" is a bright spot, however. You can feel every emotion, from longing, to ache in her delivery of the chorus, "If you could only see, what love has made of me." I still can't figure the song out. One moment, it's an awesome, unflinching song in which Crow lays her emotions bare. The next time I listen to it, it's straight out of Dawson's Creek for the melodrama department.
"Mississippi" is a great song towards the end of the album. The song was written by Bob Dylan and it didn't make it to his Time Out Of Mind album. No loss there, however. The lyrical flow seems customized for Crow.
The Globe Sessions falls short of capturing the power of her last album, but it does prove that she is an artist who definitely will be sticking around for awhile. It may not be an album that you can sit down and listen intentely to, but it works just fine while you study or do some much overdue cleaning of your house or apartment. And unlike, say Hootie and the Blowfish, you won't catch Crow peddeling this album on the Home Shopping Network.