Thursday, December 31, 2009

21st Century Blues

Here we are, born to be kings we're the Princes of the Universe. I was not going to pick a favorite album of the entire decade because honestly I didn't think one album from the last 10 years could be good enough. I'm at an age where music just can't carry as much weight in my life as it had before (which if you read this blog you may be amazed to know this is the downsized version of my music fandom). For my favorite album I tried to think of an album that wasn't just enjoyable musically but summed up the decade for me personally. So I went through the usual suspects - Journey, Yes, Metallica, I'd say Van Halen but they didn't do anything in the way of new albums, Tom Petty, etc. and came up empty. My mind kept returning to a certain album. My internal dialogue went round and round to if I should pick this album because though I played it often it wasn't the most played album I've had either. When I ranked my Top 10 favorite albums in the year this was released I ranked this at like Number 7 or something, definitely not Number 1! But my mind won't quit on choosing this as the album that represents the last decade for me.

And so it goes, my pick for the album of the decade is a disc I didn't even pick as my favorite in the year it was released.

Sheryl Crow - Detours (2008)

The album was made at a time when Crow had been in the press a lot due to her increased outspokenness on politics, high profile break up with cyclist Lance Armstrong and bout with breast cancer. These themes are packed into the lyrics of the Detours album, grafted onto strong memorable melodies and smooth, tasteful production thanks to Bill Bottrell. By openly writing about her personal experiences and beliefs, Crow has pulled off a Jackson Browne - a disc that's relatable to others via introspection.

Detours basic message is easy to write off as hippie sentimentality, that if everyone looked in their pure hearts we would have world peace and equality. A pretty yet unrealistic point of view, but from that position Crow captures the feeling of picking up the pieces of disappointment and heartbreak on a personal, societal and political scale. The song that grabbed my attention was "Gasoline", written just before the big price increase on oil last year that voiced the frustration with getting gouged at the tank perfectly. From there I got into the deceptively carefree "Love Is Free" and the sad 70's singer songwriter pop rock of "Now That You're Gone". The rest of the album is just as good but I don't want to go on and on about every song (though I probably could). When I think of an album that says what it feels like to live in the 21st Century, this is the one I think of. So what the world needs now is some love and compassion, I guess the hippie chick has got it right after all.

No comments: