Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow’s fifth album is a tribute to the golden ’70s California sound, complete with guest vocalists Stevie Nicks, Don Henley and Emmylou Harris. It’s a fun ride—half happy rock, half sad ballads. Best of the rockers is the one that opens the album, “Steve McQueen,” an ode to the king of cool and rebels on motorcycles. The album’s first single, “Soak Up the Sun,” comes across like an old Beach Boys hit that says just lighten up and have a good time; it’s the perfect summer song. The best of the album’s ballads is “Abilene,” a haunting, heartbreaking, tear-in-your-beer country-rock tune that’s reminiscent of Linda Ronstadt’s version of “Alison.” In fact, this is the Linda Ronstadt album Linda never made—a high compliment in my book. If you miss that ’70s Asylum Records-style Topanga Canyon country rock with some blue tears thrown in, this is your album.