Sheryl Crow has taken lots of knocks for her political-talk proclivities: The ever-loveable Andrew Sullivan dubbed her a "brain-dead peacenik in sequins," Karl Rove famously snipped "I don't work for you, I work for the American people" after they sparred over global warming, and conservatives everywhere snickered heartily when she suggested rationing toilet paper. Given how much political nonsense her male peers get away with, it's tempting to cry sexism—but it's better to just listen. Detours, Crow's sixth LP, is packed with political and personal screeds; she laments breast cancer, a broken engagement, a new son, a fumbled presidency, broken levees, and mushrooming gas prices with equal aplomb. But these are the sorts of things Crow has always written about. (In 2002's hit "Soak Up The Sun," she presciently mentioned rising gas prices.) And Detours isn't a huge leap forward, though it does benefit from a reunion with Tuesday Night Music Club producer-writer Bill Bottrell. Crow's earnest, adult-contemporary crooning isn't as musically subversive as that of her protest-singer predecessors, but some of the scrappier cuts here ("God Bless This Mess," "Shine Over Babylon") are genuinely compelling.
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