Detoursby Sheryl Crow
Nothing puts life in perspective like a brush with death, and that truism is brought into blazing relief on Sheryl Crow's sixth album, Detours. Crow survived a battle with breast cancer in February 2006. Around that same time, she separated from fiancé Lance Armstrong and, roughly a year later, she adopted a son. That's a decade's worth of life packed into two years, but these highs and lows -- or Detours as she calls them -- have led Crow to produce her liveliest, weirdest album since 1996's messy masterpiece Sheryl Crow. On that record, Crow shook up her success by undercutting the retro-rock of Tuesday Night Music Club with loping looped beats and a skewed lyricism that kept even bright tunes like "A Change Will Do You Good" slightly off-kilter, but ever since that album her records grew increasingly mannered, as she whittled away her eccentricities. All those eccentricities return on Detours, partially due to that tidal wave of life events, but also to the revival of her relationship with producer Bill Bottrell, the man who helmed Tuesday Night Music Club. Bottrell and Crow had an acrimonious split during the making of the second album -- several of their collaborations did make that record, including "Maybe Angels" and "Hard to Make a Stand" -- and while Sheryl sustained her stardom, no producer let her be as loose or revealing as Bottrell, as he helped give her pop tunes odd, distinguishing touches and kept her ballads spare and haunting. These gifts are put into sharp relief on Detours -- perhaps a shade too sharp, actually, as the album is divided into a half of careening protest pop and a half of moody introspection, which may showcase how Bottrell captures Crow's distinct moods, but doesn't quite give this album the classicist flow of her first records. Even if the album slows down a bit too much on its second stretch -- the one containing unadorned confessionals of broken engagements ("Diamond Ring"), cancer ("Make It Go Away [Radiation Song]"), and adoption ("Lullaby for Wyatt") -- the individual moments all work according to their own merits, while that first half contains Crow's most compelling music in years. Much of this is explicitly political -- references to war, petroleum, and New Orleans all run rampant -- but compared to her sometimes didactic public speeches, her socially conscious writing is surprising, filled with odd juxtapositions and sly jokes. That sense of humor alone is a relief, but it's married to music that's restless, encompassing the worldbeat textures of "Peace Be Upon Us" (featuring Ahmed Al Himi on backing vocals), the lopsided shuffle of "Love Is Free," and the sultry '70s Stones swagger of "Gasoline." Crow hasn't been this free or fine since Sheryl Crow, but there is an emotional directness on Detours that makes this a progression, not a retreat, and with any luck, this album isn't a one-time journey down a side road but rather the touchstone for the next act in her career.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsSheryl Crow Primary Artist,Organ,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Piano,Accordion,Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Hand Clapping
Bill Bottrell Organ,Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Percussion,Pedal Steel Guitar,Drums,Electric Guitar,Marimbas,Pipe,Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Mellotron,Acoustic Bass,Synthesizer Bass,Wurlitzer
Ben Harper Vocals,Guest Appearance
Jeremy Stacey Piano,Drums,Timbales,Vocals,Kalimba
Jeff Trott Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Slide Guitar
Mike Rowe Flute Sample
Doyle Bramhall Electric Guitar
Mike Elizondo Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Drums,Sampling
Matt Butler Cello
Greg d'Augenlli Brass
Ahmed AlHirmi Oud
Rosanna Arquette Vocals
Wyatt Crow Noise
Marva Soogrim Vocals
Brian Macleod Percussion,Drums,Sampling
Technical CreditsBill Bottrell Producer,Engineer,String Arrangements,drum programming,Audio Production
Julian Peploe Art Direction
Eric Fritsch Engineer
Mike Elizondo drum programming
Matt Tait Engineer
Pam Wertheimer Management
Scooter Weintraub Management
Catherine Berclaz Art Direction
Abdulla AlKhalifa Vocal Arrangements,Vocal Producer
Brian Macleod drum programming
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I love Sheryl Crow, but this album just did not work for me. Where in the past, Crow has always felt like the girl next door who knew how to rock out. . .here, she feels like a preachy pseduo-intellectual. It's actually kind of insulting. Frankly, Crow's politcally charged music was a lot cooler when she wasn't trying so hard to sound well informed. Gems like "Hard To Make A Stand," "Love Is A Good Thing," and "Where Has All The Love Gone," were stellar in both their timeless appeal, and thought provoking substance. Listening to Detours, one gets the feeling that none of these songs will matter about 15 seconds after the November election. Shine Over Babylon is okay. . .but it's hardly the post-modern "For What It's Worth." It's fine if Crow wants to make a record to express her obvious hostility against the Bush Administration, but she could at least have the courtesy to come up with some new arguments. Lines about Bush leading us into a war based on lies are, at this point, so tired that they inspire more eye rolling than quiet reflection. And while "Love Is Free" is a catchy enough, one has to wonder if, when Crow is spouting off statements about karma catching up with government officials that failed-- does that includes Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco. "Diamond Ring" feels like a pale version of "Sad Sad World" which was a B-Side from "Everyday Is A Winding Road." --and a much better track. Only in the song "Motivation" does this album come anywhere close to the brillance of "Tuesday Night Music Club" which was also produced by Crow and Bill Bottrell. The closing track, "Lullaby For Wyatt" is a nice reflection on Crow's new motherhood. Maybe my expectation was too high, or maybe I am just growing weary of musicians that feel the need to "educate" me on the issues of the day--I can read a newspaper all by myself, thank you very much-- but I found "Detours" to be the first album in Crow's long career that just was just "okay" and certainly the first of her CDs that feels disposable. Listeners would be better of to stick with Sheryl's catalog, and download the handful of good tracks rather than buying this entire album.
Any Artist who takes the chance to tell the truth and put her heart on the line for it is number one in my book, and with the male female thing we have all been screwed up on that since Adam and Eve. The unconditional love to and from a child can not be beat!!!!
Wow. How could anyone not like this CD? And in turn not like Sheryl? This CD has everything. Love it!
Sheryl Crow has long been a "contender" revealing her musical talents in almost every genre' I know. Now in DETOURS she is much more outspoken about what is "wrong" with our environment - SHINE OVER BABYLON - hits that nail right on the head!! And she attacks her demons from the past and vows her unconditional love for the new "man" in her life, Wyatt. Sheryl can bring us the music, the lyrics "along with her other writers" and convince us that we may have, will have, or are experiencing the emotions and convictions she is experiencing or has experienced. She's the woman whose been through the fire and shows us how to be "better" for it. I have long been a Sheryl Crow fan, respected her policitcal and environmental views, and had to say "you go girl" when she revealed good ole Rove's true colors - and they ain't red, white and blue!! "Not that I didn't already know that" but she's a true professional and writes from her experience and heart. This is a must have if you're a Sheryl Crow fan!! So if you are, get this CD and SHINE OVER BABYLON!!
I would have written a review similar to Jason's if he hadn't done such an excellent analysis. Crow has taken it upon herself to educate us all on the issues of the day and her perspective on them. Detours is too preachy and not enough of the fun quirkiness that made Crow's earlier albums entertaining. Skip this one, borrow it from a friend who made the mistake of buying it, or hit the highlights on your favorite legal download site.