Home > News & Reviews > Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow - Threads (Album Review)

Tuesday, 10 September 2019 Written by Simon Ramsay

Sheryl Crow’s always been good at what she does. No more, no less. She’s crafted the occasional moment that might be deemed great, but although a Grammy-winning superstar who’s sold tens of millions of albums, her songs  have rarely threatened to attain classic status or reshape the musical landscape. Unlike the work of the legends she’s drafted in for this enjoyable, albeit indulgent and flawed, duets record.

Aiming to honour those who inspired her while offering a showcase to some of today’s younger artists, everyone from Stevie Nicks, Johnny Cash and Lucius to Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, St. Vincent and Jason Isbell appear on an overlong 75 minute record that—despite some classy moments—is thematically, tonally and stylistically scattershot. If it is to be Crow’s sign off, then it’s a mixed one.

Things begin well, though, with Prove You Wrong vintage Crow. Boasting Nicks and current country-pop starlet Marren Morris, it’s a buoyant romp where an overly familiar chord progression and melody are enlivened by the trio’s spirit and sass.

Bluesy-soul burner Live Wire is equally spunky thanks to the legendary Mavis Staples, and the Chris Stapleton duet Tell Me When It’s Over feels like a long lost Tom Petty smash. 

Elsewhere, the Joe Walsh-powered Still The Good Old Days, folky Cross Creek Road (with Lukas Nelson and Neil Young), tender back and forth of Nobody’s Perfect, alongside Emmylou Harris, and the shuffling slice of breezy optimism Flying Blind, featuring James Taylor, impress. Had Crow stitched ‘Threads’ around these rootsy, well executed tracks, she’d have a cohesive, if unoriginal, record that plays to her strengths.

Unfortunately things go off the stylistic rails in spectacular fashion, particularly on the shark-jumping monstrosity Story Of Everything. An attempt at social commentary filled with perfunctory observations, it’s a messy misstep, with Chuck D’s opening rap so jarring it’s like the record’s suddenly been interrupted by a Spotify advert. Another instance of the increasingly irritating trope of white artists adding ‘instant rapper’ for extra socio-political cred, it feels both cynical and impotent.

Confusingly moving between clusters of darker, slower, more serious numbers, the sequencing here is also dreadful.  Those particular songs are mostly well done, but grouped together create the erroneous impression of a miserable record. And Crow’s inability to add true vocal gravitas doesn’t help. Although a technically superior singer to the likes of Cash, his aged drawl possesses a power and depth of emotion that reinvents her Redemption Day as a much weightier battle between damnation and salvation than it actually is.  

Throughout those tracks it’s also clear Crow has failed to impart a unique songwriting voice and genuine insight, perhaps underlining that she’s better suited to a middle-of-the-road aesthetic than songs aiming for profundity. That lack of compelling musical presence is the main reason ‘Threads’ doesn’t hang together with the same unity as Santana’s similarly guest heavy and eclectic ‘Supernatural.’ Such projects demand a strong, idiosyncratic personality at their core in order to gel everything together.  

That said, if this turns out to be Crow’s swansong she deserves credit for bringing these artists together and collaborating with them on some fine compositions. Aside from the odd stinker and some poor decisions, ‘Threads’ is a good, occasionally very good, effort that works better on a song-by-song basis than over the course of a whole album. Which, somewhat ironically, makes for a fitting conclusion to her recording career.

Let Us Know What You Think - Leave A Comment!

Related News

Sheryl Crow Shares New Single Still The Good Old Days Featuring Joe Walsh
Mon 17 Jun 2019
Sheryl Crow has shared a new single.
Sheryl Crow Shares Stevie Nicks And Maren Morris Collaboration Prove You Wrong
Thu 06 Jun 2019
Sheryl Crow has teamed up with Stevie Nicks and Maren Morris for a new song.
Sheryl Crow Announces Summer Dates In Manchester And Glasgow
Tue 22 Jan 2019
Sheryl Crow has announced shows in Manchester and Glasgow.
Melanie Martinez Tickets For UK And Ireland K-12 Tour Dates On Sale 10am Today
Fri 09 Aug 2019
Melanie Martinez will perform across the UK and Ireland this winter. Melanie Martinez tickets go on general sale at 10am today.
How To Make A Sadcore Hit: A Lana Del Rey Recipe
Fri 09 Aug 2019
Lana Del Rey really has nailed her hazy, retro vibe and a nostalgic sense of sadness. Far from the usual feel-good factor of pop hits, the New York vocalist and songwriter has carved a niche for herself in the shimmery, summery genre of luxurious, melancholic songs that we like to call sadcore.
Lego House Or Penthouse? What Global Domination Means For Ed Sheeran
Tue 06 Aug 2019
Ed Sheeran makes his own rules. After a decade of working his way up from busking in small towns and playing local pub gigs to now dizzying, chart-topping heights, life for Teddy has reached the point where he’s in the enviable position of creatively being able to do whatever he wants.
Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell! (Album Review)
Thu 05 Sep 2019
When Lana Del Rey’s Video Games attained viral status in 2011, it felt entirely plausible that her success would be a flash in the pan. Many critics (often male) derided her as a contrived, inauthentic pop star whose cinematic melancholia could not translate to long term appeal. Eight years and four albums later, they’ve been proven wrong about her longevity, and yet Del Rey’s multi-textured inauthenticity has flourished, and become a kind of defining brand. Sometimes you can be wrong and right at the same time.
GOT7 Announce October London SSE Arena Wembley Show
Fri 06 Sep 2019
GOT7 will head to London this autumn.
< Prev   Next >