Beginning tomorrow, July 14, Sheryl Crow is appearing in Dell television commercials nationwide featuring her anthemic upcoming single “Good is Good” (extended clip here).
The first-ever Dell celebrity spokesperson, Crow will headline television commercials highlighting how consumers can tap into the power of technologies such as Dell’s Media Center PCs and plasma TVs for home entertainment. A print and online campaign will follow later in the month.
Singer, songwriter, musician, producer and girlish 43-year-old sex symbol, Crow, originally from Missouri, is arguably the biggest female rock star today. She dates cyling legend Lance Armstrong and has been influenced enough by him to have announced the name of her forthcoming album, Wildflower (out September 27), in an interview with Cyling News!
A former backup singer for Michael Jackson (“Bad” tour of ’87-’88, tabloid rumors of their romantic involvement were greatly exaggerated, as in completely fabricated) Crow’s voice is youthful but lived-in, and her eclectic but immediately identifiable style draws together rootsy rock ‘n’ roll, bright pop-rock, alt-rock, and country into an extremely appealing blend very well represented in her ’03 smash collection The Very Best of Sheryl Crow.
After kicking around L.A. for several years in the late-’80s and early-’90s, fighting depression, doing studio backing vocals (Sting, Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker, Sinead O’Connor, Stevie Wonder, Foreigner, Don Henley), and avoiding being forced into the dance-pop mold as a solo artist, Crow fell in with a loose group of musicians and songwriters (including producer Bill Bottrell, David Baerwald and David Ricketts of “David and David”) who called themselves the Tuesday Night Music Club. Out of beery sessions with this group came her brilliant debut album of the same name in late 1993. She won Grammys for Best New Artist, and Record of the Year and Pop Female Vocal for her breakthrough single “All I Wanna Do,” which also leads off the best-of collection.
“All I Wanna Do” is a classic L.A. brew of sunny country-rock, Latin-esque rhythms, fabulist humor (“I love a good beer buzz early in the morning”), a hint of surf guitar and a shadow of desperation as the world passes before the bloodshot eyes of the Crow character and her “plain ugly” drinking companion William. Also on the collection from Crow’s debut is the sublime “Leaving Las Vegas,” a sad but hopeful farewell set to a hip-hop beat, the sweet beat ballad “Strong Enough” (“lie to me, I promise I’ll believe”) and the similarly themed “I Shall Believe.”
Crow’s exceptional self-titled second album came along in ’96, forging Stonesy fuzz guitar, roots rock swing, and odd studio noises and squiggles into a sound both classic and contemporary. Representing it on the collection are emblematic “A Change Would Do You Good,” gentle “Home,” world-weary “If It Makes You Happy,” and swirling, hard-charging “Everyday Is a Winding Road.”
Another winner, The Globe Sessions (’99), didn’t break new ground but canvassed familiar territory quite pleasurably (if a bit somberly) with “My Favorite Mistake” (remarkably echoing Aimee Mann), “There Goes the Neighborhood” with big fat “Exile On Main Street” guitar riffs from her co-writer Jeff Trott, and the Stones’ own sax man Bobby Keyes, and bluesy “The Difficult Kind” (“Anything But Down” is strangely left off the collection).
Crow’s image was glamorized considerably (note hot beach pics) and her music brightened on C’mon, C’mon (’02), where it became clear that the 40-year-old was not going to go gently into that good night. On the collection are “Steve McQueen” (with chic treated vocals) and “Soak Up the Sun” (with Liz Phair singing along). Also on the collection are Crow’s monster country duet with Kind Rock “Picture,” and her cover of Cat Stevens’ lovely “The First Cut Is the Deepest,” her biggest solo hit single since “All I Wanna Do.”
Dell’s new Media Center PCs purport to allow people to play music, view photos, and watch videos through “one easy-to-use interface.”