Released: Sep 10, 2013
Genre: Country, Country Rock
Label: Warner Bros
Number Of Tracks: 12
While Sheryl Crow has flirted heavily with country music for most of her career, "Feels Like Home" is the first full album outing where she completely immerses herself in the genre.
Feels Like HomeFeatured review by: UG Team, on september 09, 2013 2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Sheryl Crow came into the spotlight with her single "All I Wanna Do," and from there her popularity continued to grow with each single she released. Over time, she gained respect as a skilled singer-songwriter and her music was accessible to fans of country, rock and pop. Over time she has slowly moved more and more into the realms of country rock and southern rock, but "Feels Like Home" marks the first full album she has released that is straight up modern country from beginning to end. She worked on each track with co-writers, notably Brad Paisley and Chris DuBois. "Feels Like Home" is her eighth full-length studio album, containing 12 tracks and a total runtime of just under 45 minutes.
The album opens up with "Shotgun" which has a honky-tonk feel, even with a little bit of a funk guitar thrown in there. The next track, "Easy," was the lead single from the album (released a good while ago in March) and lyrically talks about the benefits of the simple pleasures in life. The track "Give It to Me" has a country blues feel to it, but mostly seems like Sheryl's vocal impression of Dolly Parton. "We Ought Be Drinkin" is the quintessential country drinking song. "Call Me When I'm Lonely" is the first track where the country slide guitar gets heavy, and with lyrics like "he's at the front door now/ with his magic smile/ and he'll be gone tomorrow/ but right now he's mine for a little while." "Waterproof Mascara" is a sad country ballad that explores dealing with abandonment issues, and specifically about her baby daddy splitting. "Crazy Ain't Original" seems like a half-hearted attack on pop culture in general. "Nobody's Business" is probably the most "rockin" country song on the album, with a little bit of attitude to it. "Homesick" is a sweet acoustic track with simple and sparse music throughout, more carried by the narrative of the lyrics. "Homecoming Queen" is a track about the lost youth of an aging homecoming queen. "Best of Times" caught my attention with a pretty interesting riff that comes and goes throughout the song, and a chord progression that seemed a little unusual for country music. The album closes out with the track "Stay at Home Mother," which is another more minimalist acoustic track about wanting to spend more time with her daughter. "Stay at Home Mother" almost comes across like a truly sincere track until you release that Sheryl Crow doesn't have a daughter, but instead has two adopted sons. Musically, the album is very solid for a country album but the songwriting comes across as contrived, cliched, and insincere which really hurt the listening experience for me. // 6
Lyrics: While Sheryl Crow is a skilled vocalist, her appeal has always been the slightly smoky "girl next door" nature of her voice. That aspect of her voice is on full display on "Feels Like Home." There is even a whistling solo on the track "We Ought Be Drinkin." The lyrical themes range pretty much across the spectrum for "country music" themes, but definitely spend some time with the cliches such as drinking beer, being broke and hating your job. My problem with this album comes with Sheryl's lyrics seem ludacris she is singing about being poor, being a broke down single mom, a washed up homecoming queen and staying at home for her vacation because she ain't got money to go to Cancun. There is nothing even remotely sincere about her lyrics and it makes the album seem like a really contrived thing. As a short sample of the lyrics, here are a few lines from "We Ought Be Drinkin": "It's the middle of the week/ I'm just driving home/ the suns going down but nothing's going on/ they're playing whiskey river and I turn it up/ and suddenly it hit me how thirsty I was/ it's only Wednesday night/ got to get up early/ to tell you the truth I'm not that worried/ bout that right now/ so I think I'm gonna hit downtown/ and get loud/ well it's one of them nights feels like we ought be drinking/ you got to get a lil' rowdy like we're living in a country song." There is a thin line for a singer-songwriter to stay marketable but to also be sincere with their lyrics, and Sheryl took a sharp left into "marketable" but left "sincere" in her rearview mirror. // 6
Overall Impression: I definitely appreciate the earlier alt rock, or alt country music that Sheryl Crow put out more than her more recent music, but her talent is undeniable. Unfortunately, with "Feels Like Home" Sheryl Crow has moved her music into a direction that I can't find it in myself to follow. I imagine that this album will be very successful with country music fans, as Sheryl Crow definitely knows her trade. I did find "Crazy Ain't Original" and "Best of Times" as fairly interesting but interesting like I wouldn't change the radio station not interesting like I'm going to rush to iTunes to purchase them. As I've stated earlier in the review, I just can't get over the general insincerity in the lyrics and I hope Sheryl remembers to write from her own perspective in the future. // 7