Music: 100 miles from Memphis by Sheryl Crow *
Life-threatening illness can lead to profound change for anyone, musicians included, and often a new departure can kick-start a fascinating career move.
Sheryl Crow has made a full recovery from breast cancer, and this, her seventh album, sees her abandoning the breezy country-pop that's made her one of the biggest-selling female singers of the past 20 years.
As the Memphis in its title suggests, this is a soul album or, to be more accurate, Crow's attempts at a soul album. She has assembled a crack team of soul players and she tries to add punch to her singing voice. But at practically no point does it come close to working. Crow isn't a characterful singer and, even on her best songs, there's something wallpaperish about her voice. Here, she blends even further in a muzak background.
The nadir comes with her take on Terence Trent D'Arby's Sign Your Name, which features a limp cameo from Justin Timberlake. This is one of the most pointless and bland cover versions I've ever heard. Her take on The Jackson 5's classic I Want You Back is only moderately more successful.
Burn it: Sideways