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Sheryl Crow changed her mind about releasing a new album. The change did her good

Sheryl Crow, 2024
Dove Shore
Big Machine/Full Coverage
Sheryl Crow, 2024

Sheryl Crow lied to us.

In 2019, she told All Things Considered that she was releasing one last album — Threads — then she was done with albums. She called the format "a dying art form."

On March 29, 2024, she released a new album, Evolution.

"I know, I know, I can't count on what's going to come out of my mouth next," she backpedaled to Morning Edition host Debbie Elliott. "I didn't intend to put out an entire full length album. It still feels like a playlist of new songs. So that's what I'm going to call it: a playlist of new songs by Sheryl Crow. How's that?"

Here are a few highlights from Crow's chat about her new "playlist."

On the inspiration behind her new songs

It really started off with this in-depth conversation about A.I. and what that's going to mean, not only for artists but what it's going to mean for our humanity. I think it was the advent of the Beatles using John Lennon, and then shortly after that, George Carlin being used with a new comedy routine that somebody wrote and used his likeness. It felt very, very dangerous and very daunting to me as an artist to know that my voice can be inserted into someone else's work, and that a program can write a Sheryl Crow song. But it's deeper than that. It's really about truth and about how do we discern what the truth is anymore and are we even interested in the truth? That's where — as a mom who has lived through most of her life without technology — this is where mom and artist intersect. I found that I was just writing an artistic download that culminated with me putting out these new songs.

On the song "Broken Record," which is critical of social media

That song was really in response to the hate that I got from speaking up about the Covenant shooting, which was right down the street from us in Nashville. I think because of texting and social media, we've gotten away from this idea of empathy, that we have to remember that the words we say — whether you know a person or you don't — can be hurtful. All things should be based in intention. My intention is something as simple as: gun control isn't for the government to come in and take away people's guns. My intention is to try and find a way to make our kids safer. And instead of acknowledging intention, there's a lot of "Shut the f*** up and sing." I mean, just some really ugly things. And so the song really is directed from something my mom told me when I was a kid: "It's just as easy to be nice as it is to be a jerk."

On the song "Alarm Clock" — and the challenges of being both a touring rock star and a mother of teenagers

I'm missing driving my kids to school. I have a 16-year-old now, and he takes his younger brother to school. But, you know, every morning, fly out of bed, 6:15, pack the lunches, make the breakfast, make sure everybody's got everything, get in the car, take him to school. And coming back home and finally having that second cup of coffee and feeling a sense of accomplishment: okay, I did it! I got my kids to school!
It's funny when you think, okay, you were a rock star. And there were mornings when you were getting home at 6:15, and now you're on the other side of it. And I would not trade it for anything. But I do not love mornings. Neither does my 13-year-old. So we've always said, man, I hate my alarm clock. So I decided, you know what, there's a song in that.

On the inspirational song "Love Life"

There's so many times when I think: I'm going to remember this moment. In fact, last night I was playing basketball with my kids, and the basketball bounced off the wall, came back and hit me right in the head. And we all like cockroaches on our backs, we were laughing so hard. And I remember thinking, I'm going to look back on this moment.

I think you do get to a certain point in your life — it's like the song says, "We'll be looking back at right now." You do get to an age where you start trying to catalog all the moments that you want to remember, because when you're young, your whole life is in front of you and you think it's never going to end. Then as you get older, you realize that time flies at warp speed, you know? Especially when you're raising kids and you start counting summers, like, how many more summers do I have with my kids? That's really what the song is about: stopping for a moment and acknowledging that moment and being in it.

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Phil Harrell is a producer with Morning Edition, NPR's award-winning newsmagazine. He has been at NPR since 1999.
NPR National Correspondent Debbie Elliott can be heard telling stories from her native South. She covers the latest news and politics, and is attuned to the region's rich culture and history.
Julie Depenbrock
Julie Depenbrock (she/her) is an assistant producer on Morning Edition. Previously, she worked at The Washington Post and on WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi Show. Depenbrock holds a master's in journalism with a focus in investigative reporting from the University of Maryland. Before she became a journalist, she was a first grade teacher in Rosebud, South Dakota. Depenbrock double-majored in French and English at Lafayette College. She has a particular interest in covering education, LGBTQ issues and the environment. She loves dogs, hiking, yoga and reading books for work (and pleasure).