# Audio CD, Vinyl and Digital Download
# Original Release Date : 21 April 2017 (USA)
# Number of Discs: 1
# Label: Warner Bros. Music
# Wylie Music / Warner Bros.
|1. "Alone in the Dark"
Sheryl Crow - Jeff Trott
2. "Halfway There "
Sheryl Crow - Jeff Trott
3. "Long Way Back"
Sheryl Crow - Jeff Trott
4. "Be Myself"
Sheryl Crow - Jeff Trott
5. "Roller Skate"
Sheryl Crow - Jeff Trott
6. "Love Will Save The Day"
Sheryl Crow - Jeff Trott
7. "Strangers Again"
Sheryl Crow - Jeff Trott
8. "Rest Of Me"
Sheryl Crow - Jeff Trott
9. "Heartbeat Away"
Sheryl Crow - Jeff Trott
10. "Grow Up"
Sheryl Crow - Jeff Trott
11. "Woo Woo"
Sheryl Crow - Toby Gad - Jeff Trott
(Japanese Edition and Target Exclusive)
12. "Disappearing World"
13. "The World You Make"
14. Long Way Back (Acoustic)
Albumism.com (USA): 4 stars out of 5
Elmore Magazine (USA): 92 out of 100
American Songwriter (USA): 3.5 stars out of 5
Popmatters.com (USA): 7 stars out of 10
NoDepression.com (USA): positive
TheArtsDesk.com (USA): 3 stars out of 5
AllMusic.com (USA): 4 stars out of 5
Irishnews.com (Ireland): 3 stars out of 5
USA Today (USA): 3.5 stars out of 5
Guitar Girl Magazine (USA): positive
The Chronicle (USA): positive
Newsday.com (USA): B+
Diandrareviewsitall.com (USA): positive
Rolling Stone magazine (USA): 3 stars out of 5
The Guardian (UK): 3 stars out of 5
The Daily Mail (UK): 4 stars out of 5
Exclaim.ca (Canada): positive
Slant magazine (USA): 3.5 stars out of 5
Blurt Online (USA): 4 stars out of 5
Financial Times (UK): 3 stars out of 5
By Quentin Harrison
Sheryl Crow’s ‘Be Myself’ Expands Her Brand of Venus Rock
“This ain’t no disco, and it ain’t no country club either…!”
This proclamation, made
on Sheryl Crow’s 1994 smash single “All I Wanna Do” was prophetic for
the soon-to-be iconic artist. It described her sound perfectly, a
honeyed aural treat pitched between roots rock grit and studio pop
polish. This sound, beginning with her debut album Tuesday Night Music
Club (1993), followed Crow through that record’s next two follow-ups,
Sheryl Crow (1996) and The Globe Sessions (1998). This string of albums
announced Crow as one of the leading voices in a new wave of women in
the 1990s rewriting the singer-songwriter rulebook.
Crow’s initial burst of
popularity was owed to the radio ready rock vibe she had all but made
her own, but deeper exploration into Crow’s stated third LP The Globe
Sessions hinted at a subtle, yet cinematic pop pulse underneath the
guitar driven surface. It was apparent that Crow’s artistic animus
couldn’t be confined to any one format.
That broader pop bravura
took its first steps with C’mon, C’mon (2002), but bloomed on Crow’s
lush and expansive fifth LP, Wildflower (2005). It was unfairly
dismissed upon its release as “too slick” and met further indifference
from a changing radio landscape. The three projects that followed
Wildflower from 2008 to 2013 were tut tutted by critics as “return to
form” vehicles or ignored entirely in spite of their own merits. It’s no
secret that rock and roll purists can be fickle and anything that
challenges their framework isn’t viewed as musically “honest enough.”
Women in particular are burdened with that weight, more so than their
male peers when they try to stretch themselves.
So where does that leave
Crow’s ninth studio LP, Be Myself? The title, upon initial inspection,
feels like an unnecessary mea culpa. But, when the listener dives into
the material present on the record, it’s quickly noted that Be Myself
isn’t an acquiescence to fossilized ideas about rock and Crow’s identity
adhering to them. Instead, the album is an affirmation of the totality
of Crow today as a woman and artist bridging the traditional and modern
sides of the genre she loves.
Central to the successful
conveyance of this is her voice; fuller in feel and sound, it easily
pilots the infectious energy of the album’s lead-off single, “Halfway
There.” The song is a curvy, funk number and Crow makes it an instant
classic with a vocal read that is dually sweet and savory. For those
well versed in Crow’s canon, the song’s sonic attire might bring to mind
the groovier aspects of her 100 Miles From Memphis (2010) LP.
Musically, as a whole, the record divides between classic rock flair and
stylish pop sidesteps. Often, these two approaches are executed within
the same song, as heard on “Long Way Back,” “Alone in the Dark,” and
“Grow Up,” the undeniable highlights of the set.
Crow's collaboration with
producer/musician Jeff Trott is key to Be Myself balancing its live
instrumentation and tech burnish―Trott had worked with Crow previously
and understood how to record her. So, on the dark political humor of
“Heartbeat Away,” the lone guitar riff licking against the lyrics lets
the music emphasize Crow's storytelling. But when the chorus cranks to
drive home the emotionality of the track, it does so with a
multi-tracked stacking of electric guitar fuzz, proof that studio
science can complement versus crowd.
Be Myself is not about
breaking new ground or coasting on past accomplishments. It’s about
presenting Sheryl Crow as an individual comfortable in her own creative
skin and willing to share in the truth of her journey.
Notable Tracks: “Alone in the Dark” | “Grow Up” | “Long Way Back"
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
By Iain Patience
Sheryl Crow returns to the fray with this absolute gem, proving she’s still very much rolling at the top of the game. This is simply true vintage Crow, sparkling brightly with a classic rock element at the core. Eleven new tracks that feature her delightful searching voice, lyrical savvy, and a storyteller’s eye and ear capturing the essence of being self-aware, confident; a positive survivor against all and any odds.
Crow is no newcomer to the award battlefield as a nine-time, long-time Grammy winner. It’s hard not to listen to this latest offering without expecting her to hit double figures pretty soon. Be Myself, her first release on the Warner label, is strong on rhythmic riffs, melodies and lyrics that linger. A near-‘60s, golden pop and rock era sound bursts out at every turn, with clear echoes of Beatle-esque melodic exploration at times. All perfectly highlight why this lady remains such a force of nature, with a talent that seems always to lead rather than follow the curve of modern musical tastes and fortune.
Be Myself demands attention and guarantees satisfaction with every track. This album is a keeper. It rushes along like a riotous river exploding, leaving the listener reaching time again for the repeat button. Do yourself a favour and grab a copy when you can.
Rating: 92 out of 100
By Hal Horowitz
Every day is a winding road, and no one
knows that better than Sheryl Crow. After a few diversions into Memphis
soul and modified country, along with personal upheavals both good
(adopting two sons, beating cancer) and otherwise (what seems to be a
recent nasty breakup), Crow is back to what she does best; cranking out
melodic and emotionally vivid folk/pop/rock.
Her debut for Warner Brothers (Crow’s
previous release was on Warner Country) is a generally gloomier set, at
least lyrically. When on the opening track “Alone in the Dark” she
sings, “Trust is something you can’t see/ But when it gets broken, it
cuts so deep/ Hope you’re feeling super chic/ Since you made a joke out
of me,” it’s clear she’s not hiding her pain from a busted relationship.
Conversely those words are connected to a melody with an instantly
hummable chorus that will remind any Crow fan of why they enjoyed her
music in the past.
Despite more songs of pain and heartbreak
such as “Halfway There” (“Let’s just agree to disagree/ we all know the
rest), “Long Way Back” (“Sometimes you gotta face that light/ Get back
in the ring, put on your gloves and fight”), and “Rest of Me” (I been
let down/ I been dragged around so long”), Crow never forgets the
significance of catchy melodies, many of which are far more cheerful
than the stories she tells. On the flip side, “Love Will Save the Day,”
seemingly a hopeful idea with lyrics such as “With darkness on the left
and right/ Believe me love will save the day,” is wrapped around one of
the album’s most ominous tracks with creeping organ, heartbeat bass
over a murky molasses tempo.
There’s even some politics in “A
Heartbeat Away,” (“You bet the president is sweating/ While Russia’s
blowing up the phone”), a tough blues rocker and the disc’s hardest, and
hardest hitting, track featuring a jagged, grinding guitar solo from
Doyle Bramhall ll.
Crow has never been less than
professional and consistently works with top quality musicians. Here she
reconnects with producer Jeff Trott who also handles bass, keyboard and
guitar duties. More importantly he and another old friend Tchad Blake
(as mixer), craft a terrific balance between an upbeat approach and
subject matter that is less than sunny.
Now in her mid-50s Crow doesn’t take
kindly to the sexed up contemporary culture as she complains in the
somewhat simplistic “Woo Woo” that “Every time I check my Twitter/
Somebody’s butt is in my face.” So it’s no surprise that Be Myself can
be considered an old school Sheryl Crow album which, with the high
quality of songs, singing and production, shows that the winding road
has led her back home with a set of songs any existing fan will enjoy.
It may not be her finest set, but it captures the light/dark spirit that
informed Crow’s best music and is a worthy addition to an already
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
By Richard Driver
The singer-songwriter reunites with producer Jeff Trott to deliver a strong return to rock and her earliest albums.
Sheryl Crow’s Tuesday Night Music Club came out nearly 24 years ago and started a recording career that has explored many styles, from rock to pop and country. For Be Myself, her ninth album she reunited with producer Jeff Trott to write and record a collection of songs that recaptured the spirit of that debut and the career it generated in the mid-‘90s.
The effort is largely successful, and the reunion with Trott and editing and mixing by Tchad Blake (another return after nearly two decades, too) capture the feel of her early records. But, there is a persistent longing in the tracks, a desire the creeps through each track to do more than dust off past successes and dispense with later blues and country-influenced albums, like Crow’s 2013 effort Feels Like Home. The intent to connect her early career to this album, while simultaneously pushing against the later materials flows from grooving keyboards, grungy guitar, and raw vocals, particularly in the album’s title track.
The album builds up to this track, with the opening tracks ruminative and thoughtful about a life lived and looking ahead as if both actions were ditched for other pursuits. It’s a slow open from “Alone in the Dark”, through “Halfway There”, and “Long Way Back”, and the title track finally captures the return Crow, Trott, and Blake are intent on telling and capitalizing upon. While “Be Myself” fully embodies the sound and style of Crow’s mid-nineties output, she still infuses the album with the work of a long career. “Roller Skate” effectively blends the longing for the mid-nineties with the pop of Crow’s early 2000s albums, while “Love Will Save the Day” could be at home on Wildflower (2005) as much as it fits here.
The mood of the album changes drastically on “Strangers Again”, and the impact of harsher instrumentation and angrier lyrics creates a divergence from the album’s first half as well as seems to dispense completely with anything that followed Sheryl Crow (1996). It’s about loss and the realization that no matter what, no return is possible, even as it returns to the anger and hard qualities of her second album. What follows are songs that explore the future, consoling listeners that Crow was with them in the mid-nineties and her music is still with them now. “Rest of Me” evokes both a softer approach and a direct appeal.
The most appealing track on Be Myself is “Heartbeat Away”, a raw, lengthy appeal that combines the harder rock of her 1996 album with the blues of Detours (2008) and 100 Miles from Memphis (2010). It’s a loud, stinging track, and certainly one that will play nicely in concert with audiences. Crow explores a readiness to find her early influences, escape the missteps of her past, and confront an uncertain future.
Across her ninth album, Be Myself, Sheryl Crow and producer Jeff Trott, play with the style of her most successful records, and in turn create an album that acts like a greatest hits package. The familiarity of her career is this album’s foundation, despite the outright rejection of aging that Crow imparts in the final two tracks “Grow Up” and “Woo Woo.” A career as productive as Crow’s is worth exploring, and though the album may not inspire you to dust off her old records, it’s enjoyable, fun, and reassuring in its renewal.
Rating: 7 stars out of 10
By Grant Britt
Although Sheryl Crow says she wants to
distance herself from country, there's still some mud clinging to her
boots on her latest, Be Myself. 3 years ago,Crow released a country LP,
Feels Like Home, but it didn't do much for her bottom line or her fan
base. For her latest, she teamed up with Jeff Trott and Tchad Blake, the
team that produced '96's Every Day is a Winding Road, saying that she
wanted to revisit that feeling.
Well, sorta. “Alone In The Dark” sounds
like pop country that really pops, making your speakers rattle and hum
with a garagey framework overlaid with Crow's country style vocals
backed by a syrupy backing vocal choir of oohs and ahhs.
“Halfway There” is more the Sheryl Crow
of old, a back-wallopin' bigfoot stomp marching along behind her as she
exposes her '90s roots with the lyrics like “ if love is God and God is
love why do we argue/lets listen to each other before we criticize,”
telling Rolling Stone that the message is “we need to agree to disagree
and just try and meet halfway there."
There's a heavy industrial sound backing
most of the material here, sweetened by Crow's crooning and the ooh-ahh
choir, “Long Way Back” sounds like an outtake from Crow's eponymous '96
release that spawned “Winding Road.”
Crow recently told Rolling Stone that a
portion of her songs were inspired by the Stones' takes on country from
their Let it Bleed and Exile periods, but “Heartbeat Away” sounds
influenced by a darker Stones sound like “Midnight Rambler,” Crow
unveiling a prescient tale of espionage and Russian hacking she penned
long before the current Trump-Russia connection was unearthed.
Backed by a INXS heartbeat, “Grow Up” is
pure pop candy, bubblegum fun in the spirit of classic 'gummers hits
like the Archies “Sugar Sugar.”
“If I can't be someone else, I might as
well be myself,” Crow proclaims on the title cut, a rollicking flashback
to jangly '90's Crow rock with a modern update, the singer caustically
observing that “hanging with the hipsters is hard work/ how many selfies
can you take before you look like a jerk?”
Considering the mindless, syrupy drivel
that pop has become, hanging that label on Crow is unfair. Rootsy rock
with a rural attitude is more to the point, a comfortable fit in old
clothes that don't feel outdated.
By Katie Columbus
My ears are doing the time warp. If I
close my eyes, I'm in high-heeled jelly shoes, wearing silver lipstick
and with my hair in Bjork buns - back when a satin slip dress over a
t-shirt was cool as opposed to vintage.
The first track of Sheryl Crow's new
album Be Myself has propelled me backwards into the nineties, when
Tuesday Night Music Club battled with Alanis Morrisette's Jagged Little
Pill to etch permanent marks on my young heart.
There's a sensible reason for my
nostalgia. For the first time in a long time, Crow has re-connected with
her original 1990s productiom team of Jeff Trott and Tchad Blake. There
is unashamed nostalgia as tracks like "Alone In The Dark", with it's
simple chords and carefree harmonica fuses with memories of "Everyday is
a Winding Road" and "Be Myself" has me humming "My Favourite Mistake",
for which the above trio were responsible for.
"Heartbeat Away" is rocky and political,
and could be used (dare I say it) in a revolutionary Pepsi ad. "Rest Of
Me" is arm-tiringly strumtastic and "Love Will Save The Day" makes me
want to go and dig out Aimee Mann's "Save Me" (circa 1999).
"Roller Skate" is another timeline rewind
- carefree and teen-style, all about sunshine and wanting some
attention. It belies Crow's age and experience, in spirit. Although
perhaps not in subject, as she sings about the perils of social media:
"Hanging with the hipsters is a lot of hard work. How many selfies can
you take before you look like a jerk?" Or in "Grow Up", which advocates
"put[-ting] away technology, how about an apology, you got a lot to say
but not to my face". I find myself tutting along with her about these
pesky millenials, but not wanting to sing along. Be Myself might grow on
me, but rather than getting into this latest album, I yearn for the
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
By Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Sheryl Crow's country makeover Feels Like
Home didn't click commercially in 2013, so she decided to radically
shift directions for this 2017 successor, Be Myself. The title alone is a
tacit admission that she's returning to her roots, reuniting with
producers Jeff Trott and Tchad Blake, the pair who helmed 1996's Sheryl
Crow and 1998's The Globe Sessions. Crow last worked with Trott on
2002's C'mon, C'mon, and Be Myself deliberately mirrors that album's
sunny vibe while also nodding at specific songs from Crow's past.
"Roller Skate" grooves to a beat that echoes "All I Want to Do" and
"Strangers Again" struts like "If It Makes You Happy" -- sly winks that
acknowledge Crow is happy to embrace her past. Perhaps this retro move
would seem desperate if Crow didn't seem so enthusiastic reviving this
collaboration. With Trott and Blake in tow, she's happy to embrace her
eccentricity in addition to her fondness for big pop hooks -- a
combination that fuels Be Myself as surely as it did Sheryl Crow or The
Globe Sessions. Compared to those two '90s records, this 2017 album
isn't quite as daring -- a revival is by definition a safe bet, plus
Crow's long since reined in her purple prose -- but one of the charms of
Be Myself is what lies along the fringe. Most of the record's 11 songs
are graced by provocative sounds lurking at the margins of the mix --
something that sounds like a music box on "Halfway There," a saloon
piano on "Rest of Me," all the compressed guitars as percussion -- that
help elevate this set of strong, sophisticated pop into something
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
By Phil Page
Although this is a return to form for Crow after 2013's country-based and too-cosy Feels Like Home, it's an odd pastiche of her 1990s work.
The smart arrangements and interwoven guitar riffs on her classics such as All I Wanna Do, Every Day Is A Winding Road and A Change Would Do You Good are all here almost, but not quite, note for note.
Be Myself would be a pretty good album if it wasn't trying so hard to be Sheryl Crow c1996, but it does still have some good tracks, with the cute and catchy Grow Up standing out as the most original song on offer here.
It's definitely an album worth listening to though if you're in need of a new shot of Sheryl Crow.
By Chuck Campbell
Every day has been a winding road for Sheryl Crow since her 1993 breakthrough “Tuesday Night Music Club” (featuring songs such as “All I Wanna Do,” “Strong Enough” and “Leaving Las Vegas”) and her brilliant 1996 follow-up, “Sheryl Crow” (“If It Makes You Happy,” “Home,” “A Change Would Do You Good”). She had celebrity relationships (most notably with Lance Armstrong), fought off cancer, became a mother (twice), made some movies, plunged into social and political activism and moved to the outskirts of Nashville.
Apart from her artistic mini-rebirth with 2005’s “Wildflower,” Crow’s music career hasn’t been widely significant for a couple of decades as every few years she’s dabbled in something new – like country and Memphis soul.
That 1993/1996 Sheryl Crow had become nothing but a faded memory until now. Her aptly titled new “Be Myself” is that same Crow from way back. She even reteams with her old cohorts Jeff Trott (production, guitar) and Tchad Blake (engineer, mixing) to give authenticity to the reborn phoenix-like Crow.
Of course she’s now 55, looking at that early-30s singer with the same eyes she used then to look ahead. She acknowledges she has aged out of the pop world with the fuzzy/soulful title track – “If I can’t be someone else, I might as well be myself” – joking about taking an Uber to a juice bar to see a hot indie band, and feeling out of her element. And in the crunchy rock closer “Woo Woo” she takes a swipe at celebrity narcissists like Kim Kardashian: “Every time I check my Twitter, somebody’s butt is in my face … let’s hear it for the skinny girls!”
Crow digs in against President Trump on “Heartbeat Away,” a searing classic rock track spiked with fuzzy psychedelia as she warns him of a coming reckoning. Yet she also extends her hand to her political and religious opposites on the horn-accented “Halfway There.” Meanwhile, Crow deals out old pop-rock relationship songs in the earthy “Alone in the Dark,” breezy “Roller Skate” (“Put your phone away, let’s roller skate”), melancholy “Strangers Again” and jangly “Rest of Me.”
There’s even an update to “All I Wanna Do” in the clomping “Grow Up” (“I don’t wanna ever grow up”).
“Be Myself” might not be as catchy as Crow was in the 1990s, but it feels like running in to an old friend.
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Guitar Girl Magazine
As we get older, we start to really overthink things. We become cautious and step gingerly after much contemplation. It seems that the days of our youth where jumping into things with a fearless mentality of riding the moment have faded into something left for the young. I mean we never think we are becoming that person, but it seems to happen quicker than we realize. It’s inevitable… or is it? Can we reclaim that spark? Can we go back in time to where we just have that energy without so much trepidation? Well for one artist, that is exactly what it seems she is doing.
Sheryl Crow has had a very successful career as a singer, songwriter, guitar player, and ultimately a survivor. She also has a new album called Be Myself coming out April 21st. What makes that so special you might ask? Well, for someone who has a plentitude of albums under her belt and a trail of top charting hits, something has changed for this release. This album seems to be a matured revisit to what made Sheryl… well, Sheryl in the first place.
See, the industry and life changes an artist, as you would naturally expect. We play a game that sometimes inadvertently fogs the passion we once stood up for. Now that doesn’t mean that Crow has compromised her ideals for anything; it just means that as we become seasoned, our voice is more stoic than shout. I’m sure we all can relate that family, illness, and time can motivate our exertions to a different place than we once thought we were. Sheryl can relate to all three of those things for sure. What I think has happened with this new release is that this singer has a new, firm grip on the free form creativity that is so well known from her pop sensibilities.
Crow’s last album Feels Like Home caught many fans off guard by the country-esque direction, but I think that was the clear-cut showing that this artist was at a cross roads of sorts. Yes, having strong country roots and a connection to an overtone that she was calling home seemed maybe a next step, but it became way too overproduced and maybe a bit forced.
With early-days production collaborators Jeff Trott and Tchad Blake onboard, Be Myself is a secure return to the sweet spot of that special time. Within the new tracks there is a bounce that brings you back to early hits like “Everyday Is a Winding Road” and “A Change Would Do You Good.” For instance, the song “Halfway There” might be focused on agreeing to disagree (that is so needed in the current landscape), but it brings back that strong-willed optimist that we all loved about Crow. There is seemingly a politically preemptive and rock fueled hit in her tale of secrets; and taking the money and running with the track “Heartbeat Away,” which reminds us this singer can still belt it out with some killer intensity.
One thing that is still a constant with Crow is the wordsmith ability she has to lull you into her music. The gentle but poignant “Love Will Save The Day” reminds us that this songwriter still knows how to captivate the listener in that casually honest way that we all love about her.
Regardless of her past ventures, Be Myself is not an intended step back into familiar ground, but rather a re-centering of her self. This album needed to be done to remind Crow of her interest in the joy of creating music. The real passion is so far away from the industry and commercialism that sometimes artists lose sight of the forest for the trees.
Crow has battled many things in her life; cancer, relationships, industry, and maybe even the thought of herself. Well, once again, she has decided amongst all the static, that she should just focus on being herself. This album is a product of that new-found soul.
Sheryl Crow will be supporting this new album with a slew of new dates, starting tonight in New York, so she can share that reinvigorated energy with her fans. I heartily suggest you go and enjoy it with her.
By Aaron Krein (Arts Editor)
Singer/Songwriter Sheryl Crow is currently gearing up for the release of her tenth studio album, “Be Myself.” It will be her second album with Warner Bros. Records, following her 2013 country project, “Feels Like Home.”
She will also be reuniting with producer Jeff Trott, whom she worked with on several hits since her second album in 1996.The album promises a return to the pop/rock Crow audiences fell in love with in the mid-’90s with a twist.
Crow has released three promotional singles in the past month, proving she is true to her word.
The first single, “Halfway There,” was released in early March. The first ten seconds alone sound like “My Favorite Mistake,” one of Crow’s major hits from 1998.
The funky guitar jam focuses on Crow trying to get her lover to make a compromise to their constant arguments.
In true Crow fashion, the track namedrops many brands to personify the song, such as Hummer, Armani and Volt.
The repetitive chorus mixed with the horn section also reminds me of some of her tracks from the “C’Mon C’Mon” era. One thing made clear is that you can tell that her vocals have aged when put against her original style and sound.
However, Crow still sounds full of soul and personality. Grammy-winning guitarist Gary Clark Jr. also appears on the track.
The single also has an accompanying stop-motion animated music video that includes appearances from the RCA Nipper, a bunch of UFOs, and high profile people whom may have had public disagreements.
“Long Way Back” sees Crow incorporating her country influences from her last record mixed with a raw “Globe Sessions”-esque delivery.
The track is about finding a way to relieve stress that one endures from day to day life. The line, “taking the long way back home,” seems to be a metaphor for the long journey that we all take toward happiness consistently.
She also references a man having a heart attack as her incentive for quitting smoking cigarettes. On her YouTube channel, Crow stated that the track was inspired by the “cynicism” that has grown on the nation since the start of the 2016 presidential election season.
The tune has a peaceful vibe with optimistic lyrics but still holds a melancholy feeling. The background vocals, especially during the chorus, really help lift the track to emotional heights.
The title track, however, is by far the highlight of the three singles. The track shows the lyrical genius that Crow has been that has earned her nine Grammys.
“Be Myself” opens up with her talking about her shrink telling her that she can’t be helped from who she is as a person. So, lamenting that she can’t be anyone else, she sings with a bluesy tone that she might as well be true to the kind of person she is meant to be.
This is the kind of track that could explode on adult contemporary radio in the vein of tracks like “All I Wanna Do” and “Soak Up the Sun.” The song also finds Crow criticizing the “selfie” generation and details in the second verse that she is unable to relate.
Like the first track, she namedrops current fads such as Snapchat, Twitter and Uber.
All three tracks are solid and have me anticipating the full set, slated for a release this Friday.
Crow has always been an artist who has released honest and upfront material that I’ve grown up listening to since my early childhood.
Despite not being able to fully embrace her last two albums, these tracks seem like a sign that this will be something worth paying attention to.
If you are fan of Crow’s earlier work and you’re wondering how she is putting a new spin on her sound, I recommend give these tracks a listen.
By Glenn Gamboa
Remember Sheryl Crow when all she wanted to do was have some fun?
That’s the version of the singer-songwriter that comes shining through on her latest album, “Be Myself” (Warner Bros.). You can practically hear the weight lifted off her shoulders as she sashays her way through “Woo Woo,” her clever twist on Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass.” “Sexy ain’t a word only a few girls own,” Crow says, skipping through talk of belfies and Nicki Minaj wannabes.
That’s not to say her recent albums — the soul-tinged “100 Miles from Memphis” and the country-leaning “Feels Like Home” — were heavy, but there’s a comfort that feels infused into all of the songs on “Be Yourself.” Maybe it’s the familiarity of working again with her late-’90s crew, co-producer Jeff Trott and engineer Tchad Blake. Or maybe it’s that Crow, now 55, feels more comfortable with who she is and where she’s heading.
The activism of her underappreciated “Detours” album is still on display here, but it’s become more integrated into her big-picture lyrics. On the first single, “Halfway There,” she’s looking to foster a dialogue between liberals and conservatives, over a strutting soul groove that does its best to unify. She does turn up the political heat on “Heartbeat Away,” a raging Rolling Stones-y rocker that Crow says was written before the election, even though it includes lines like “You bet the president is sweating, while Russia’s blowing up the phone.”
Crow balances that seriousness with the lighthearted “Grow Up,” where she promises “Love is everywhere if you even care to see” in a Prince-ly bridge, before declaring, “I don’t ever want to grow up” in the chorus.
“Be Yourself” manages to sound carefree and timeless, while still remaining current sonically and lyrically. In other words, it sounds exactly like Crow.
By Diandra Reviews
Album Review: Sheryl Crow’s “Be Myself” Show You How To Be Yourself
When they said Sheryl Crow was going back in time, sonically, for her new album, Be Myself, they were not kidding. Be Myself might as well be a follow up to her debut album, Tuesday Night Music Club, continuing her singular, winding style of country-folk-blues. Vocally and instrumentally, Be Myself feels like a walk down the “Santa Monica Boulevard” of Crow’s life; it is sunny, vulnerable, and made to replay.
Be Myself is one of the most refreshing albums to come out recently, and, also, the most poignant in discussing the emotional distances we travel to find out who we are. This LEGEND has had decades worth of success because she is a narrator. “Heartbeat Away” seems like an ancient Greek, rock n’ roll tale warning against hubris, excess, and any fool that believes looking good covers up being bad. Meanwhile, “Halfway There”, “Rest Of Me”, and “Long Way Back” are alt-rock emblems of the many paths we journey to find “ourselves” when the truth is our “self” is constantly growing and changing. In “Be Myself” Crow uses vibrant instrumentals to show the humor/ dower reality of being the “same person”, yet feeling like you are different. Maybe, your view of you can change, but your actions are a different tale, which is a reality that Crow displays through bright arrangements that shine as if they came from sun-rays, and vocals that are as sweetly edible as a cold beer with friends in a hot afternoon. Sheryl Crow has had many musical iterations/ reincarnations, and Be Myself is a “full circle” realization that “myself” is not a concept as much as a feeling.
Like Sheryl or anyone, I can give you a few words and labels I, and others, have associated with my being, but they will fail to fully grasp who I am and how much I am a person. Thus, Be Myself becomes a therapeutic, sentimental album to listeners who will find Sheryl like a beautiful, music guru; too connected to the the “realness” of living. From relationships that wane “Strangers Again” and the sincere need but all-around confusion as to what it means to “Grow Up”, Sheryl proves that years can pass in your life, creative highs and relationships lows can come, but all of that is just apart of the journey to being yourself that has no specific destination. This is an extremely deep thought and message to stretch in just 11 tracks, but, again, Crow is a master story-teller who arranges her guitar melodies to match the emotional chords she wishes to emanate. From the bouncing, folk-rock arrangements of “Alone In The Dark”, where Sheryl shows betraying or broadcasting your relationship always leads you to a lonely end, to the coolly fierce guitar strains of “Woo Woo” that is just about the desire for exactly that, you will learn a lesson per listen. “Woo Woo”, in particular, shows Sheryl’s capacity to make a deliciously, mesmerizing hook that at just first listen is permanently living in your brain and begging to be sung out loud.
Rolling Stone magazine
By Rob Sheffield
Sheryl Crow's 'Be Myself' Is Her Toughest, Best in a Decade
It's no surprise Sheryl Crow has grown into such a classic-rock sage – even when she was coming up in the Nineties, she relished the role of a grizzled road warrior who sang about still getting stoned and scraping mold off the bread. Her excellent new Be Myself is her toughest and best in a decade, a full-blown return to her fierce rock-queen glory. She aims directly at the torn-and-frayed guitar groove of her Nineties records, but with flourishes of her recent detours into Memphis soul and Nashville country. Crow flashes her nasty streak in the highlight "Heartbeat Away," where her bluesy guitar sounds as pissed off as her voice – she rages against crooks who steal both elections ("Russia's blowing up the phone") and loot, snarling, "Ain't no silver in the bank vaults/There's just paper where the money used to be." Her winding road takes her through lovelorn laments ("Strangers Again") and yoga-mama romance ("Rest of Me"). Crow's a grown-up with doubts about all this clicking the kids are into – one of the kickiest pop gems here has the chorus, "Put your phone away, let's roller skate." Yet Be Myself has a well-tooled sheen, crafted with her old-time comrades Jeff Troot and Tchad Blake; "Halfway There" choogles like a weird lost collabo between the Cars and Al Green. She sounds mournful when sings "anger makes the world go round" – yet that angry edge helps keep Crow burning bright in dark times.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
By Dave Simpsons
Sheryl Crow: Be Myself review – a punchy return to form
After a short-lived dabble in country music, Be Myself reunites Sheryl Crow with 1990s collaborators Jeff Trott and Tchad Blake and returns to the sassy, carefree, stripped down folk-pop-rock that brought her massive success in that era. However, at 55 and with a cancer scare behind her, Crow has, as she herself says: “Seen more of this life than most have seen and it’s taken it’s toll on me.” The subject matter here is darker than on her early albums, but the songs see her “getting back in the ring” to battle everything from a kiss-and-teller to depression. There’s pithy humour, too, in songs which address Twitter “butts”, selfies, indie bands with fake followers, Trump and ill-fitting high heels. Love Will Save the Day is touching, not trite, and if there isn’t an obvious smash in the mould of All I Wanna Do or If It Makes You Happy, Be Myself certainly punches its weight in sass.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
The Daily Mail
By Adrian Thrills
When Missouri’s Sheryl Crow secured her big break with All I Wanna Do, she glorified a carefree lifestyle in which drinking beer at noon was the norm. With its laid-back guitar hooks and leisurely handclaps, the 1994 hit single was a breezy celebration of nonchalant good times.
She tries something similar on a new track called Roller Skate, on which she waxes lyrical about sunshine, mirror shades and face-to-face conversation in an age when people spend too much time bewitched by their mobile phones.
For Crow, 55, it’s a deliberate attempt to turn back the clock. With the collapse of her three-year relationship with disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong plus battles with breast cancer and a brain tumour, her life has been far from straightforward in the past decade. You can hardly blame her if all she wants to do is have some fun.
Her new album Be Myself came about after the former music teacher began listening to her old records on the school run.
She says she wanted to ‘investigate what made my early songs strike people as authentic’, and the upshot is an album that reconnects her with the rootsy pop of her 1993 debut Tuesday Night Music Club.
Crow is a talented songwriter, musician and producer, but the onus here is on her attitude and a voice that gets to the point without showboating.
Eschewing the country leanings of 2013’s Feels Like Home, she revisits some of the more soulful influences that prevailed on 2010’s 100 Miles From Memphis, with Texan R&B guitarist Gary Clark Jr. impressive on Halfway There. It’s not groundbreaking, but Crow delivers with aplomb.
There are a few middle-aged grumbles. Alone In The Dark laments the intrusive nature of modern technology and the title track bemoans today’s selfie culture — ‘hanging with the hipsters is a lot of hard work’ — but Crow’s observations are generally witty and warm.
She’s happy to play the concerned mum on Woo Woo, which examines sexualisation in the entertainment industry, but is at her most convincing on songs such as Long Way Back, a Stonesy rocker about showing courage in adversity.
She uses the past as a springboard, but Sheryl is again looking forward.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
By Sarah Greene
After her surprisingly strong country detour on 2013's Feels Like Home, Sheryl Crow is back to her old wheelhouse — namely, sunny-yet-wounded roots pop that manages to deliver radio-friendly earworms with a charming sense of grit and candour.
For Be Myself, her ninth solo album (and first for Warner), Crow has reunited with '90s collaborators Jeff Trott and Tchad Blake (mixing) to try to channel the vibe of her eponymous 1996 sophomore album and 1998's The Globe Sessions, this time working out of her own home barn/studio/saloon just outside of Nashville.
Crow both succeeds and fails; it succeeds because her songs are as catchy and genuine-feeling as ever, but fails partly because Be Myself is just too glossy. I find it hard to believe that the sometimes-cheeseball production — guitar chorus effect abuse; lifting the entirety of Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks" intro for the bluesy "Long Way Back" — will ever sound timeless. Sheryl Crow was rockier; The Globe Sessions sounded more organic.
Still, this is a fun, rough ride through the crap side of dating (Crow is vitriolic on opener "Alone in the Dark"), the obstacles of social media ("I want your attention," she sings flirtily on "Roller Skate") and Crow's take on the combative, ideologically divided world we're in ("Halfway There," featuring Gary Clark Jr., is a swaggering pop-country driving tune with a gospel component that asks, "If God is love and love is God, then why do we argue?").
Crow is a crafty writer. The Beatles-esque "Rest of Me" is well written (there's even a hint of Neko Case here), though unfortunately tinny-sounding. It doesn't make you cry like "Waterproof Mascara" off her last album might have, but it's a good F-U and a clear message about setting boundaries in relationships; she'll give, but she won't give everything. And on the Stones-y, warts-and-all single and title track "Be Myself," Crow totally kicks ass: she visits (and maybe gives up on) her shrink, rhymes Adderall with alcohol, asks how many selfies you can take before you look like a jerk and retreats from the buzz band to her favourite neighbourhood bar. She screams like the Stones and hollers like Dolly Parton or Tammy Wynette. It's pretty honest stuff.
Be Myself is hardly a classic, but it's another solid, light-hearted sounding collection with some clear standouts on it. (Warner)
By Sal Cinquemani
It's tempting to interpret the title of Sheryl Crow's 10th album, Be Myself, as a declarative statement, suggesting a return to form after a series of forays into holiday music, Southern soul, and country. The album doesn't just reprise the roots-rock pop of Crow's early releases, reuniting the singer-songwriter with longtime collaborator Jeff Trott, but it also puts engineer Tchad Blake back on the mixing board for the first time since 1998's The Globe Sessions.
The title track itself, however, conveys something entirely less rhetorical. “Hanging with the hipsters is a lot of hard work,” Crow grumbles like she's sitting in a rocking chair on her front lawn. At which point, she proceeds to rattle off a litany of buzzy references to selfies, Uber, juice bars, and social media that would have felt strained two years ago.
Escaping technological dependency is a recurring theme on Be Myself, and thankfully Crow's hankering for some real-life face time feels less forced on bona fide toe-tappers like “Roller Skate” and “Grow Up.” The latter's coupling of a measured stomp with clipped guitars and an earworm of a hook would sound like a riff on St. Vincent's brand of minimalist art rock if that artist's work wasn't already an amplification of the spare production style from 1996's Sheryl Crow. The song's lyrics find Crow striving to maintain her sense of innocence and wonder, an ambition cleverly complemented by the strains of what sounds like a glockenspiel.
Crow's voice is spry throughout Be Myself, retaining the country lilt she honed in Nashville on songs like “Alone in the Dark” and “Long Way Back,” while the influence of Memphis soul can be heard on lead single “Halfway There.” These specters of her last two genre-based efforts render the album an application of cumulative influences rather than just a rehash of the singer's pop heyday.
That said, “Halfway There”—with its repeated, crunchy electric guitar figure, courtesy of Gary Clark Jr.—and the hooky “Strangers Again” are proudly cut from the same mold as some of Crow's career highlights, like “My Favorite Mistake.” And her trenchant lefty politicking is still in fine form on “Heartbeat Away,” with references to our scandal-plagued commander-in-chief both oblique (“Man with a red face with his finger on a button [as] he ponders the eternal on his private jet”) and direct (“You bet the president is sweating/While Russia's blowing up the phone/Deny, deny everything”).
The schmaltz suggested by the title of “Love Will Save the Day,” a self-care anthem for the Trump era, is tempered with an understated performance from Crow and thoughtfully mixed backing vocals, surface-noise loops, and moody strings. Be Myself might lack the quirks that made Sheryl Crow so distinctive (it opened with a song about aliens, after all), but the album proves that some alliances can outlast even the latest planet-shrinking technology.
Rating: 3,5 out of 5 stars
By Tiffini Taylor
Sheryl Crow is back. The nine-time Grammy award-winning artist is releasing Be Myself and it is going to be an album that will be played throughout the years to come. The songs are passionate, the type that everyone will be able to relate in one way or another to each one. Some are upbeat, some are emotional, and some are reminiscent of some of her past music. The drums, guitar, and bass are phenomenal as well. Sheryl Crow is an artist who has been there and done that, and somehow, she keeps coming back, better than ever, and an artist who puts herself into her music. Be Myself is truly a look inside the life of Sheryl Crow:
- Alone in the Dark – Good upbeat beginning using guitar and drums to lyrics that are in a certain way, kind of sad. Great song for those who have heartache. Overall a nice upbeat song from an artist who brings herself into her music her way.
- Halfway There – Nice rocking song that will make you want to move your groove thing. A good tap your foot song. This is the song that will make you want to rock.
- Long Way Back -Love the drums in the beginning! Nice guitar solo in song! If you like guitars you will enjoy both guitar solos. Catchy little tune that will be a favorite by many.
- Be Myself– Reminiscent of earlier songs from her long and successful career. Straightforward lyrics and good music. A great song.
- Roller Skate – A different kind of song but in a good way. A nice change in the middle. This song is a nice uptempo kind of song.
- Love will Save the Day – Slower, dream-like song that will take you to another place, full of hope.
- Strangers Again – Another rocking song. Good guitar and drums.
- Rest of Me – A folkish feel in the beginning that works nicely. Love the guitars in this song. Introspective lyrics that will hit the sensitive hearts.
- Heartbeat Away – Dark song, but I like it. One of those songs that will stick in your head in a good way, with solid guitar, bass, and drums. The lyrics this time seem more like a story.
- Grow Up – Great beat! A really catchy tune, one to sing along to at concert.
- Woo Woo – Good rock beginning. Another song that will most definitely be sung along to at concert. A very upbeat song, it’s the type of album closer that will leave you feeling good.
Overall, this album shows an artist revisit her past and embrace her future in music. This is a rare album that is upbeat while also showing an emotional side that we all have felt from time to time. Sheryl Crow is presenting a great musical journey with Be Myself. It’s a journey that everyone should get on board with, one that will be listened to for a very long time.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
By Ludovic Hunter-Tilney
The best songs rediscover the groove of the singer’s 1990s heyday, a catchy backing for her sunny vocals
Following her excursion into country music on 2013’s Feels Like Home, Sheryl Crow reverts to a more familiar mode in Be Myself. “Alone in the Dark” sets a Nashville-style tale of heartbreak to chunky guitars and a cheerful handclap beat, the consoling sound of MOR rock.
The best songs rediscover the groove of Crow’s 1990s heyday, a catchy backing for her sunny vocals. “Heartbeat Away” is built around a low-slung boogying guitar; “Woo Woo” sets a message about body fascism to a forceful funk-rock synth riff.
Students of Crow’s complicated love life may choose to interpret the charming bubblegum pop-rocker “Roller Skate” as a coded swipe at two-wheeled ex-fiancé Lance Armstrong.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars