Since her last album 100 Miles from Memphis released in 2010, Sheryl Crow has split from the record label Interscope Records and in 2013 signed with Warner Music Nashville to create her first country album. Feels Like Home, Crow’s newest album is another top-ten hit to add to her collection, and although a complete change from her usual rock/pop albums, it has been a risk that has definitely paid off.
The title of the album reflects Crow’s sense of belonging in Nashville where she now lives with her children, and this sense of happiness and settlement in Tennessee is clear when listening to this record. The release of the popular TV series also called Nashville has possibly added to its success. It has promoted country music, and people who love the series will equally love Feels Like Home – Crow even references the programme in the fourth track “We Oughta Be Drinkin’”.
This is the ninth record Crow has produced in the last 10 years, of which collectively she has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. Some of her most famous singles include “If It Makes You Happy”, “All I Wanna Do” and “The First Cut Is The Deepest” all of which remain popular radio hits across the States and worldwide. The contrast between these iconic songs of the 90s and her newest album is obvious, both in the sense of the genre and in the lyric subject; the songs on her newest album reflect the personal difficulties she has faced over the years and we get an insight into her life and emotions.
Crow explains on her website: “I just wanted to make sure that for this album what I wrote about were things that I really knew about – subjects that hit close to home.” These subjects are poignant and relatable amongst many women across the world. For example in ‘Stay At Home Mother’ Crow shares with us her regret at being too busy working when her children were growing up, and in ‘Waterproof Mascara’ she deals with the subject of her partner walking out on her and their children.
However, “Waterproof Mascara” is my least favourite song of the album as the serious tone of the subject matter does not match up with the happy melody of the song. The chorus: “Thank God they make waterproof mascara, ‘cos it won’t run like his daddy did” seems to trivialise the heart wrenching fact that she was left by her partner. It could be said that this contrast purposefully makes the listener take notice of what she is singing about, however in my opinion this topic would have been better addressed in a serious country ballad.
“Easy” the first single released from the album has similarities with some of her older tracks, with a slight country twist. It has a strong focus on the guitar rhythms and her powerful voice. It is one of my favourites from the album along with “Homesick” a beautiful slow song, and “Crazy Ain’t Original” which is one of the most country tracks on the album and is also comedic in the fact that Crow mocks celebrities who have been in the news for going to prison or doing stupid things. My favourite lyric from the song is “what everybody used to call a freak show, well now we call reality TV” showing her sense of humour and level-headedness.
The album has a good mix of slow and more upbeat tracks such as “We Oughta Be Drinkin’” and “Shotgun” which are a breath of fresh air and highlight the fun stereotype of country bars and lifestyle in southern America. Some of the tracks are a bit too cheesy for my liking but the country genre really suits her; the twang of the guitar and the steady beat of a drum compliment her earthy vocals and create an enjoyable album which is easy to listen to and boasts some really catchy songs.
Feels Like Home was released on Warner Music Nashville on 10th September 2013.