From breakups to babies and battles with breast cancer and testy politicians, Sheryl Crow has experienced a lot in the past year. Her latest release chronicles these events with stinging honesty and conviction. Lyrically, Crow has returned to her roots, embracing political tones and taking on a host of issues, including the war, global warming and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Somehow, Crow manages to make her soapbox tirades palatable by keeping the music front and center, sometimes offsetting somber words with upbeat drum kicks and hand claps on tracks like the singsong "Love Is Free." "Lullaby for Wyatt" poignantly captures an intimate conversation between a mother and son, set against gentle strums and hushed words. Not since the so-called darker "Globe Sessions" has Sheryl Crow put down such a robust collection of songs.
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With their Irish roots and shamrock-embellished stage curtain, Flogging Molly is synonymous with green for obvious reasons. But the band has recently given some attention to worthy causes on its Web site, including Save Darfur and GOAL USA, while promoting its latest release. The band's latest CD romps about in the same frenzied, drunken Irish manner that fans have come to expect, with tracks like "Punch Drunk Grinning Soul" and "Us of Lesser Gods." With its whistles and lilts, you might say it's high-octane world music for both punks and parents.
Lenny KravitzIt Is Time for a Love Revolution
Live Earth benefit veteran and neo-love child Kravitz returns with a predictable but ever-so-rockin' disc. "Love Revolution" brings back the hard-hitting drums and crunchy guitars reminiscent of one of his most notable hits, "Are You Gonna Go My Way."
"If You Want It" pulls back with bare-stringed strums and come-hither vocals sure to induce a swoon, while "Dancin' til Dawn" harnesses a '70s bass line that struts about for some of the disc's funkiest moments. Lenny once again dresses up peace and love in a sexy package and proves that it's something for everyone, not just the hippies.