Soundchecks Music Reviews
THE VERY BEST OF SHERYL CROW: The Videos
review by Jeff Young
This compilation of 14 promo videos for American singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow only runs for 57 minutes and the disc has no extras - except for a song access menu, but it's a serviceable offering by the often money-spinning standards of such merchandise. There's your typical assortment of striking montage and monochrome expressionism, directed by the likes of Samuel Bayer, David Hogan, Wayne Isham, Matthew Roltson, and others, displaying a certain flair for colourful tableau, despite the general lack of originality. (Let's face it, the creative heyday of 'rock video' was from the 1980s to early 1990s, and ever since then the format and the medium has seemed exhausted, if not exactly sterile.)
Most of the videos tend to rely too heavily upon Crow's looks, with frequent soft-focus close-ups of her polished teeth, big hair and familiar smile, but occasionally she fails the glamour photo shoot test with fashion victim attire. Soak Up The Sun presents bikinied Crow & Co having a day at the beach. First Cut Is The Deepest (Crow's cover version of the Cat Stevens song) is another outdoors presentation with our star toting an acoustic guitar in the desert, and riding horses, etc. Of course, there are some tracks where the filmmakers attempt to compress a narrative into four minutes of screen time, such as Everyday Is A Winding Road and Run, Baby, Run, but these clever vignettes rarely work unless you get all the film-geek references (invariably, it seems the director is influenced by pretentious European art flicks of dubious quality).
Highlights on this DVD include Leaving Las Vegas - with its aerobatic Elvis clones; A Change Would Do You Good - which breaks the golden rule of lip-synching and has an amusing bit of reversed footage; There's Goes The Neighbourhood - featuring Crow with a shorter hairdo, seen playing bass guitar during a circa-2000 live performance at an unidentified stadium; and finally we get Ms Crow as a helpless meat puppet, getting her strings pulled by her alter-ego in the next room for the bizarre Anything But Down video, directed by someone named Floria Sigismondi.
My favourite, though, is the Steve McQueen video, co-directed by Crow herself, which attempts to recreate car chase and motorbike scenes from McQueen's classic movies, including Bullitt and The Great Escape.
for PIGASUS Press