Sheryl Crow's new album 'Evolution' Sheryl Crow announced her final album in 2019. She has since reconsidered her position. Her 2024 album is called Evolution.

Sheryl Crow changed her mind about releasing a new album. The change did her good

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1241414653/1241576531" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

DEBBIE ELLIOTT, HOST:

Sheryl Crow lied to us. Back in 2019, she put out an album and she told All Things Considered that it would be her last.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

SHERYL CROW: We can't expect particularly young people to listen to albums from top to bottom. It's almost a dying art form.

ELLIOTT: And what's Sheryl Crow doing today? Well, she's releasing a new album.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALARM CLOCK")

CROW: (Singing) It's a beautiful life. Blow your mind and make you say ah. When I open my eyes, baby, that's when the dreams stop. That's why I hate my, that's why I hate my, that's why I hate my alarm clock.

ELLIOTT: Her new record is called "Evolution." So, of course, we needed her to come back to clarify.

CROW: I know. I can't count on what's going to come out of my mouth next. However, that being said, I didn't intend to put out an entire full-length album. It still feels like a playlist of new songs, so that's what I'm going to call it. A playlist of new songs by Sheryl Crow. How's that?

ELLIOTT: OK. So what was the inspiration for the songs?

CROW: It really started off with this in-depth conversation about AI and what that's going to mean not only for artists, but what it's going to mean for our humanity. I'm raising two young boys - they're teenagers. And I just found with - you know, I think it was the advent of The Beatles using John Lennon, and then shortly after that, George Carlin being used with a new comedy routine that somebody wrote and used his likeness. It felt very, very dangerous and very daunting to me as an artist, to know that my voice can be inserted into someone else's work and that a program can write a Sheryl Crow song.

And it's really about truth and about how do we discern what the truth is anymore, and are we even interested in the truth? And that's where, as a mom who has lived through most of her life without technology, this is where mom and artist intersect. And I found that I was just writing, I mean, literally just an artistic download that culminated with me putting out these new songs.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EVOLUTION")

CROW: (Singing) Turned on the radio, and there it was - a song that sounded like something I wrote. The voice and melody were hauntingly so familiar that I thought it was a joke.

ELLIOTT: And I feel like you're also maybe making some observations about the particular challenges of our time beyond AI, in the sense that some of the very inventions and technologies that have the potential to make our lives better are really having the opposite effect, right? For instance, the song "Broken Record" seems to be written from the perspective of someone who's really fed up with social media, right?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BROKEN RECORD")

CROW: (Singing) Anger sucks, but at least your brand's trending. Dude, you must get tired. Well, we were buds, but now I'm unfriending. That's not how I'm wired.

That song was really in response to the hate that I got from speaking up about the Covenant shooting, which was right down the street from us and...

ELLIOTT: In Nashville?

CROW: In Nashville, yes. I think we've gotten away - because of texting and social media, we've gotten away from this idea of empathy. We have to remember that the words we say, the things that we say, whether you know a person or you don't, can be hurtful. And all things should be based in intention.

You know, my intention is something as simple as gun control isn't for the government to come in and take away people's goals. My intention is to try and find a way to make our kids safer. And instead of acknowledging intention, there's just, like, a lot of shut the F up and sing, and, I mean, just some really ugly things. The song is really just - it is directed from something my mom told me when I was a kid, which is it's just as easy to be nice as it is to be a jerk.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BROKEN RECORD")

CROW: (Singing) My mom says, if you can't say something nice, here comes the soap. Open your mouth up wide.

ELLIOTT: I want to say that I really enjoyed the song "Love Life, and...

CROW: Ah.

ELLIOTT: ...I want to listen to it a little bit.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LOVE LIFE")

CROW: (Singing) When we were young, we'd sip strawberry wine. Me and my friend would cross the Tennessee line. Fake IDs and some neon lights. Get us out on the floor, and we'd dance all night.

ELLIOTT: So this song reminds me a little bit of my youth growing up in Memphis, Tenn., right?

CROW: Oh, my goodness.

ELLIOTT: And also where I am in my life right now. I think I'm close to the same age you are, and I'm really trying to embrace all that is good and precious in life, you know? And this song speaks to that.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LOVE LIFE")

CROW: (Singing) I love this life.

There're so many times when I think I'm going to remember this moment. In fact, last night I was playing basketball with my kids, and the basketball bounced off the wall, came back and hit me right in the head. And we all were like - we were like cockroaches on our backs. We were laughing so hard. And I remember thinking, I'm going to look back on this moment.

And I think you do get to a certain point in your life - and it's like the song says, we'll be looking back at right now some day. You do get to an age where you start trying to catalog all the moments that you want to remember, you know, because when you're young, your whole life is in front of you and you don't - you think it's just never going to end. And then as you get older, you realize that time flies at warp speed, you know?

ELLIOTT: Yeah.

CROW: And especially when you're raising kids and you start counting summers. Like, how many more summers do I have with my kids? And that's really what the song is about. It's just about stopping for a moment and acknowledging that moment and being in it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LOVE LIFE")

CROW: (Singing) I love this life. Baby, we'll be talking 'bout right now some day, yeah.

ELLIOTT: That's Sheryl Crow. Her unexpected new album is called "Evolution." By the way, I guess that you're probably done with predicting which album will be your last now.

CROW: Yeah. I think I'm just going to keep my mouth shut.

(LAUGHTER)

CROW: I think I've evolved (laughter).

ELLIOTT: Thanks so much.

CROW: Thanks, Debbie.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LOVE LIFE")

CROW: (Singing) Let me hear you sing it, baby. Na, na, na, na, na, na, na.

Copyright © 2024 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.