Sheryl Crow - Evolution © 2024 Dove Shore
Music - album

Alarm Clock Evolution with Sheryl Crow

There is clear sense of urgency in the 12th album publication by American country-rock superstar Sheryl Crow, and though countless other artists have released songs about a world en route to certain disintegration, this production stands out with its exceptional compositions, great vocal work and a irresistible mix of honesty and vulnerability to back up the message.

It is perhaps not a stand-out masterpiece. But it certainly is one of Sheryl Crow’s best albums to date. We will get right back to what elevates this – her 12th full studio production – in a minute.

The return from album hiatus

Crow, now in her sixties, has been in a sort of album hiatus, since her 2019 release ‘Threads‘. That particular album was (and still is) a cornucopia of wonderful collaborations with some of Crow’s own favorite artists, such as Johnny Cash with whom she re-recorded the beautiful “Redemption Day”.

Sheryl Crow feat. Johnny Cash – “Redemption Day”

It felt somewhat conclusive in many ways, and as ‘Threads‘ came out, Crow also announced that her album-releasing days were over. In the following years a few new songs came out. But most publications by her came out in the form of live recordings or single songs.

But suddenly as the song “Alarm Clock” came out in November 2023, rumors turned into talk of town. One of the most celebrated female singers of the past three decades was coming out of hiatus with a backpack full of new songs.

10 brand new tracks and another duet

It is called “Evolution” and the title track for the album was, according to Crow herself, the first song she wrote for the album. In an interview with Tonight Show-host Jimmy Fallon she’s explained how she heard this seemingly new song with John Mayer’s voice on it… Or so she thought, because the voice on the recording was in fact AI-generated, and this just “freaked her out”. She went home and wrote a song about the experience and the possible consequences of AI and asked her old collaborator and friend, Mike Elizondo, to help produce it.

The result gave Crow appetite for more and suddenly series of riffs and half-baked melodies from drawers and shelves were converted into 10 brand new wonderful songs – many by Elizondo – and the idea of publishing it all as a full album began to form.

But, strangely enough, the entire idea of writing more songs for an album came from a completely different event. When Genesis-frontman, Peter Gabriel, released his monumental hit “Digging In The Dirt” in 1992, Crow was immediately ensnared by its overwhelming yet incredibly precise lyrics about how it sometimes is to be human.

“The idea of self-examination to understand our wounds and flaws and how they affect our daily lives really resonated with me, because that process can lead to self-healing. But it can be messy, it feels like digging in the dirt. Peter’s lyrics express that so beautifully.”

– Sheryl Crow (source:

After a considerable number of years ruminating, Crow finally felt ready to give the song a shot. She contacted Gabriel and told him about the idea and suddenly found herself recording the monumental song… with Peter Gabriel… while having Elizondo back in the producer’s chair. The result is nothing short of breathtaking!

It is going to sound almost blasphemous. But, the 2024 version of “Digging in the Dirt” in the hands of Crow/Gabriel is as great and nerve-biting as its 1992 original *Kapouw!*

The keen listener will notice the bass has been toned down a bit down in the new version. But the whip-like drums fully compensate and are drop-dead gorgeously played, making Crows version spectacular in its own right.

Sheryl Crow & Peter Gabriel – “Digging in the Dirt” (2024-style)

NOT just a playlist

In several interviews, leading up to and following the release of ‘Evolution‘, Crow had to explain why she had to go back on her 2019 proclamation never to release another album again. Having read and heard quite a few of these interviews, it seems a bit silly to spend so much quality interview-time dwelling on that, when ‘Evolution‘ is so elegantly executed.

The decision to not publish any more studio albums originated from Crow’s experience, watching consumers stream and listen to music – fractured and almost solely as parts of user-generated playlists. This thoughtless decimation of the artists’ original work of art had Crow believe that the time for full albums were gone for good.

Time has thankfully proven her wrong, and she was the first to admit that. End of story!

In the spur of the moment Crow, however, playfully called ‘Evolution‘ “her latest playlist”, sending a motherly jab at her two sons and their generation of young music lovers not familiar with the 180-grams-of-vinyl format.

The 10 songs on ‘Evolution‘ are so much more, though. It is a collection of absolutely wonderful songs perfectly suited for album aficionados.

Sheryl Crow – “Alarm Clock”

Digging in the songs

As always with Crow, fans get a wonderful mix of expressions throughout the album. Some songs rugged and biting and with surprising twists, while others are emotional and soulful.

In the first category fall the opener “Alarm Clock“, “Digging in the Dirt“, and the voluptuous title track, featuring Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) who lands a brilliantly balanced guitar solo midway.

In the latter box, we find songs that can be categorized as Crow-classics. “You Can’t Change The Weather“, “Love Life” and “Do It Again” take fans right back to the 1993-debut “Tuesday Night Music Club“. It works and we love it!

But, what ultimately crowns this happy reunion with our favorite female songwriter is her sensible yet unsentimental ballads. All the way since her 1996 follow-up “Sheryl Crow” we have known Crow to master this skill too. Back then the song was “Home” – in 2024 they are “Waiting In The Wings“, “Where?” and “Don’t Walk Away“. Especially the latter completely caught this writer with his guards down – #OutOfWords.

Hall of Fame with a full set of stars

At Latebar we don’t award stars. But were we to make an exception here, ‘Evolution‘ would go home with a fistful. We are thrilled and excited about everything on this album – even the B52s-like and humorous “Broken Record“, that Crows sons, Wyatt and Levi, allegedly tried to persuade their mom not to publish, because they found it too silly.

We are in awe of Crows honesty and utterly impressed by her straight-forwardness when she addresses serious topics like anxiety, mental illness, the thread of false-truths spreading like wildfire on social media, and the introduction of uncontrolled AI to the mix of it all.

But more than anything, we are thankful, that Crow is still writing, producing, and publishing art we can take to heart and see ourselves in. Thank you!

Evolution‘ will definitely be a nominee to Latebar’s “Album of the Year 2024“.

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