Of all the rock artists who’ve parked themselves into the country genre to jump start their careers, Sheryl Crow is the most frustrating.
I love the return to her nineties sound, and “Shotgun” sounds like it could be an outtake from Sheryl Crow, the kind that would end up as a “Non-LP” track on the CD single for “If it Makes You Happy” or “Everyday is a Winding Road.”
But that highlights the two problems with Crow’s detour into country music. For one, her sound hasn’t changed much. It’s the boundaries of what’s considered country that have done all the moving. And two, her songwriting is as tepid as ever, with a radio single from 2014 that wouldn’t have been good enough to make the actual album eighteen years ago. Honestly, she hasn’t written a great song since The Globe Sessions.
Country radio would be better served by skipping this one and adding “Home” or “Members Only” instead. They’d sound no less out of place than “Shotgun” and would be better than most of what’s currently on the dial anyway.
Written by Sheryl Crow, Chris DuBois, Kelley Lovelace, and John Shanks
I actually like this as a song and the Celtic-ish mandolin break was cool. My biggest issue is her delivery. Like “Calling Me When I’m Lonely” before it, her voice is really thin and lacks any emotion which you need to sell a song like this.
Agree with the C rating and with SRM about SC’s thin voice. I’d rather listen to Cheryl Wheeler.
Honestly, she hasn’t written a great song since The Globe Sessions.
I agree that Crow hasn’t recorded a truly great album since then, but she’s had a handful of isolated songs– “I Know Why,” “Motivation,” “Diamond Ring”– in the years since that rank with her best. But yeah. Put “The Difficult Kind” into rotation on country radio and send most everybody else home.
I don’t mind the production on this single, but I’m with the consensus here that her vocal performance is lacking. Crow never had the greatest voice, but she’s lost quite a bit of the power in her delivery over the years, and her tone has taken on a more nasal quality.
I think the whole thing may lie in the fact that, as Kevin says, Sheryl is trying to jump-start her career by venturing over into the country genre, and it doesn’t really work as successfully as it should. It just seems a touch forced; it’s not like with some of her heroes, like Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, who straddled the fence between country and rock for much of their careers without consideration to whether what they each did would be hits. and are revered for doing it very naturally.
Obviously she needs radio airplay to get much of any place in the country format nowadays, but I don’t know that this really shows her talents and abilities at where they were during the 90s.
Crow has a knack for capturing the essence of a moment or state of mind in a 3 minute track and this is no different. This song was actually inspired by one of her dad’s many sayings (“Drive it like it’s stolen, park it like it’s rented”) and it comes off as a shrewd metaphor about living your life to the fullest. Let’s just keep in mind that a great song doesn’t necessarily have to be a poetic masterpiece. This a simple, radio-ready summer tune, but it also has some depth to it…and that’s what makes it genius.
Honestly, I don’t think she’s selling her soul to country music. “Feels Like Home” just happens to be marketed to that genre due to the fact that she’s a Warner Nashville artist now. And like the review points out, her songwriting and production style have always rubbed elbows with country.
Her voice sounds thinner because that’s not her natural pitch. Her voice pitch was altered in studio.
Sheryl’s first album was interesting, but since then most of her material has been rather bland. At best she is a fellow traveler, rather than a true country artist. I’d give this a c+