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Reviewed by Red Rocker
“Letter to God” is representative of the languished pace and absence of passion that engulfs Wildflower. “I took you in, made a bed for you/ In return you gave me some words to go on/ Told me I was safe, but you never said what from,” murmurs the once background singer for Michael Jackson. An acoustic ballad, “Chances Are”, is Crow’s attempt at a stripped-down back porch rhyme, complete with crickets chirping and bullfrogs croaking. Yes, crickets chirping and bullfrogs croaking. It makes fitting sense that the title track is as strung-out and listless as any, a veritable edit room scrap on her previous works.
Of course there are a handful of redeeming flashes with Wildflower. It is Grammy award-winning Sheryl Crow, after all, and while she vehemently refuses to break any molds musically, one can’t help but take to straight-up pop pleasure like “Perfect Lie” or the current single “Good Is Good”. The former sounds like a C’mon C’mon outtake, even though it doesn’t begin to evoke the crank-it-up gusto of “Steve McQueen” or “Soak Up the Sun”. What’s more, Crow has always been able to wrap her gorgeous self around a breathtaking piano ballad, and “Always On Your Side” is no exception. Haunting and beautiful at the same time (similar to her 9/11 ode “Safe and Sound”), there’s enough hope in this one song to sustain her career into the Mrs. Armstrong years. Or is there?