Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow paid her musical dues for a long time before she made it big, so it’s no surprise it took three years to make C’mon C’mon. Now, the stars are lining up for the chance to sing and play with her. This CD features guest vocals by Don Henley, Emmylou Harris, Stevie Nicks, Liz Phair, Natalie Maines, Lenny Kravitz—even actress Gwyneth Paltrow.

As for the songs, although Crow does mix it up a bit (her acoustic approach works better than the electric guitar), the album has a clear theme: Breakin’ up is hard to do. An exception is the first single, the catchy “Soak Up the Sun"—a perfect summer song. (By the way, in reverence to 1994’s Tuesday Night Music Club, I’ve seen that “giant car wash” on Santa Monica Boulevard.) True to form, Crow’s work is more poems than songs.

Crow’s in a tough spot, because she wants to be cool (note the "swimsuit edition" liner notes), and yet she knows her work is destined for the adult contemporary charts. That shouldn’t be a bad thing. "It’s So Easy," a collaboration with Crow’s sister Kathryn (who contributes to this CD’s somewhat country flavor), is a standout, as is "Over You": "You didn’t really want me until I was gone/ I wanna get over you/ before you get over me." Now, that’s an experience to which anyone—high schooler or baby boomer—can relate.