3 weeks ago
REVIEW REWIND: "Detours," says Sheryl Crow, "help you remember who you are, and they inform you as to where you've gotten away from yourself." So naming her seventh album, Detours is fitting as it's a return to form for the singer-songwriter.
The album is built upon roots-rock foundation and the musical palette that harks back toTuesday Night Music Club. An obviously decided move given that Detours reunites Crow with producer Bill Bottrell for the first time since her debut. The reunion was worth the 15-year wait, as many of the songs on Detours rank among Crow’s best.
References to the current political climate inform the first half of Detours, with barbed jabs at the Bush administration both obvious and slightly more veiled. Crow imagines a not-so-distant future where dissent is commonplace and gasoline is free (“Gasoline”) and she makes it known how she feels about our nation’s privileged slackers (“Motivation”). On their own, the political songs would render Detours Important, but Crow has managed the nearly impossible: recording an album that’s as intensely personal as it is fiercely political. If love resulted in Wildflower, then credit the dissolution of that love for what could be Crow’s most heartbreakingly personal work to date. Her break-up with Lance Armstrong shades much of the album’s second half, most overtly on “Diamond Ring,” which gives listeners a frank glimpse into the couple’s unraveling: “I blew up our love nest/By making one little request.” Then, at song’s end, she admits: “Diamond ring fucks up everything.” “Make It Go Away” paints a portrait of a woman taking stock of her life while laying on a table and awaiting radiation treatment, with the specter of Madam Butterfly—a character who unknowingly entered into an impermanent union—overseeing the procedure. “Was love the illness, and disease the cure?” Crow asks. That her connection to Armstrong deepened and expanded upon learning she had breast cancer shortly after they split only deepened and expanded the scope, honesty, and profundity of her work.