4. Sheryl Crow, Soak Up The Sun
You know what song is really terrible? Get On Your Feet, the second single from Gloria Estefan’s 1989 album Cuts Both Ways. I hate that song. Theoretically inspirational but only in the vaguest possible sense, Estefan’s performance is so forced and joyless that the song might as well be call Oh Just Die Already, See What I Care.
Sheryl Crow’s complete lack of enthusiasm in Soak Up The Sun reminds me a lot of Get On Your Feet. It is painful to listen to. When Crow says she’s gonna tell everyone to lighten up, she sounds like a hostage reading cue cards at gunpoint.
Lyrically the song is pretty dippy, but Crow, often in collaboration with writer/producer Jeff Trott, frequently attains a likeably Melanie-esque blend of cutesy and stoned on songs like A Change and Everyday Is A Winding Road. But there’s no charm in Soak Up The Sun, and no sense that Crow is even remotely engaged with her words, from the opening line about her friend the communist to the grating “maybe I am crazy too” towards the end.
I guess part of the problem is that I always really liked older Sheryl Crow and didn’t expect her to become completely terrible so abruptly. The Sheryl Crow I knew and loved always switched rather seamlessly between heartfelt ballads and beatnik nonsense. All I Wanna Do (from her debut album) is a silly song, but Home (from her second*) and My Favorite Mistake (from her third) are both beautiful. Nevertheless, like one really bad hangover, this song completely turned me off completely, and I haven’t bothered trying anything she’s done since.
[*Her second album, the self-titled one from 1996, is actually still very awesome.]