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Sheryl Crow: C'Mon C'Mon


Sheryl Crow

Album: C'Mon C'Mon
Label: A&M

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Her music an unusually potent blend of commercial savvy and old-fashioned songcraft, Sheryl Crow has long threatened to deliver the album that would put to rest any doubters' suspicion of calculation. Beckoning title and all, C'Mon C'Mon isn't it. Though the disc starts and ends well, in between two tributes to good living ("Steve McQueen," "Soak Up The Sun") and the album-closing "Weather Channel," she sandwiches a record that sounds like the end product of a Crow assembly line. Though she's a master of the explosive chorus, too much of C'Mon C'Mon sounds calculated around that talent, dropping hooks into otherwise unremarkable songs. Worse, even the catchiest tune in the world couldn't save a song dependent on T-shirt sentiments like, "Life is what happens when you're making plans / All that you need is right here in your hands" (from "Diamond Road"). Such awful moments are outnumbered by many more merely passable ones. In C'Mon C'Mon, Crow has made an album that has trouble distinguishing itself in any way—and, as if sensing she needed the help, she's enlisted an all-star roster of guest stars from across the pop spectrum. That range includes California rock mainstays Stevie Nicks and Don Henley, Emmylou Harris, Liz Phair, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Still, the guests serve primarily as window dressing, although bringing in Lenny Kravitz for "You're An Original," a song about poseurs, qualifies either as a stroke of genius or a profound lapse in judgment. Crow has never been an original, an overrated quality anyway, but her acts of synthesis usually turn out better than they do here.