Sheryl Crow – sadly not John Lennon

Didn’t we learn anything from the Paul McCartney “Freedom” debacle? John Lennon wrote that accepting that love is all you need was “easy,” but writing a decent song about it – not so much.

Maybe I’m the only one of this bandwagon, but if you write a song that has a message that I totally agree with – – well, don’t bother releasing it if it sucks. Barry McGuire wasn’t Bob Dylan. Paul wasn’t John. John Mayer is not Curtis Mayfield. “We are the World” wasn’t “Do They Know It’s Christmas”. And Sheryl Crow isn’t, well actually, I’d still rather listen to Sheryl Crow than Joan Baez, but that’s not the point.

Unless your message song is as good as “If I Can Dream,” or “Pride (In the Name of Love)” then please rewrite it and make it into a sappy love song or something as silly and sexy as Mariah Carey’s thousands of times more entertaining “Touch My Body.”
Wasn’t it already painful enough to go through the agony of watching an American Idol contestant imply that her journey to third place on the show was something akin to the 1960’s Civil Rights era as she introduced Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come”?
John Mayer’s “Waiting for the World to Change” was kind of tolerable, if only because he ripped the entire thing whole hog from the Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions’ “People Get Ready” and it’s hard to go wrong there.

Crow with her new “Out of our Heads” similarly tries to lyrically and rhythmically ape the down home “bed-in” feeling of the John Lennon sing along, Give Peace a Chance, and in case you didn’t get that from the song, the video hits it home with like 10,000 celebrities through history giving the Peace Sign. To Sheryl obviously, you don’t really mean it or merit credit for it unless you are a celebrity. I’d like to think Sheryl was satirically commenting on our modern celebrity crazed environment, but I think that’s giving her much more credit than she deserves.

Sheryl wants us to stop genocidally killing babies (the only people who disagree with this are sadly genocidally killing babies and I don’t think Sheryl’s song is good enough to make them mend their ways), by flashing the peace signal more and getting our world’s attitude out of our heads and into our hearts.

Sheryl math

“All You Need is Love” + “Give Peace a Chance” = my latest single.

Well if you do that then it better be twice as good as both of the originals and ”Out of our Heads” clearly isn’t, not least of all because Crow’s slogan itself isn’t nearly as good as Lennon’s were. It’s not even as good as the “you can talk to me,” one from “Hey Bulldog.”

Isn’t telling us to make our decisions with our heads and not with our hearts sort of like telling the world’s conservative war lords that everything they thought about the left was exactly right? Because that’s what the right has always been saying – that we are “out of our heads” as in ignorant or crazy. Bleeding hearts, who are too sentimental to understand why bombing Hiroshima was morally superior to fighting the rest of the war with conventional weapons, and had nothing to do with putting on a really good show of power and might to the rest of the world.

Rush Limbaugh: Did she just admit that those peacenik losers are incredibly ignorant? That’s fantastic. I’ve been saying that for years.

Lennon’s two masterpieces were heady things of beauty, but both in sentiment and brains. “All You Need Is Love” questioned even our strongly held notions of what true human achievement was, while “Give Peace a Chance’s” nonsense lyrics made it clear that the only thing keeping us from peace was the meaningless white noise spouted by both sides of the political spectrum. Two sides so committed to their own complex viewpoints and “Alice in Wonderland” logic that people still mistakenly think of “Give Peace a Chance” as hopelessly naive. So much rhetoric wasted when the paradigm all along should have started with “peace at all costs.”

This and Lennon imagining no possessions or religions were actually controversial both at the time and now, because almost no one in today’s society has any intention of doing either.

These days you are definitely into having stuff, and if you aren’t then you are probably really into one religion or another. Have you been paying attention to today’s more street smart televangelists like the Rolls Royce driving Crespo Dollar or the Reverend Run approved Bishop Jordan? They revel in wealth like a Donald Trump Jacuzzi rap video. Not only does God want me to be rich, he wants you to be rich too! Follow my lord and he will make thee rich. Now that’s a genius slogan. The days of Lenny Bruce not trusting any preacher with an extra suit are definitely gone from today’s infomercials. For most people the threat of an eternity in hell was enough, but now they are offering worldly riches too and that’s a pretty enticing combination!

I can’t even get off much on the greatest hits of the peace sign video either. Sure it’s stirring to see old clips of Robert Kennedy and Jimi Hendrix, but what are George W. Bush and Richard Nixon doing in there? I know you want to ideally include everyone in Sheryl Crow new peaceful world order, but I’d leave those two guys way back on the list. Nixon wasn’t even really doing a peace sign, that was a dueling middle finger like V for Victory sign. Every part of George W. Bush and Richard Nixon’s being has been and is about peace – well, at least once they’d killed all the people who opposed the “freedom” they intended to give them at the barrel of any number of our cool new machine guns, super efficient missiles, or flamethrowers.

It’s almost as if they would have tossed in Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler, or Dr. Evil in there had they been able to find a picture of them with their first two fingers sort of spread out. I’m not even sure how I feel about Sheryl’s background singers, who flash their peace signs like gang symbols, sort of in the way it was really cool for a while to shoot people in crime movies with the gun turned to one side.

Most importantly, though, if the song stinks it doesn’t matter how good or bad the message is. I couldn’t have been the only one who wished that Paul McCartney had just gone out and sung one of his former partner’s perfect slogan songs instead of foisting the horrible “Freedom” upon us? Can we really ever have true world peace when we can’t even end the Lennon-McCartney rivalry?

Do you really want world peace? Get Sir Paul to show up at a charity gig and sing “How Do You Sleep,” because if that happens nearly anything is possible. Put down your guns — Paul is singing “How Do You Sleep.” After that even our fossil fuel issues would seem solvable.

3 Responses to “Sheryl Crow – sadly not John Lennon”

  1. Good blog…I guess. I hate f*#king Sheryl “ladder-climbing” Crow & I always will. Pretty much every move she makes in life gives me an about to throw-up feeling.

    As for the McCartney bashing…yeah, ok the “Freedom” track sucked. Bad move comparing McCartney & Sheryl Crow though.

    I would argue that Macca gets a passa just based on his back catalog alone, but throw in the fact that he’s purely & simply a total musical baddass & it’s a no brainer to me. The guy gets a bum rap really…sure he’s a lot like Bill Clinton in some ways…but overall the good outweighs the bad.

    Lennon would’ve put out just as much trite shit by now (as well as more great tunes) had he lived another 25 years. And that’s not taking Yoko’s eternal influence, for better or worse, into consideration. Frankly I always thought “How Do You Sleep” sucked & McCartney didn’t deserve that shit at all. I think about that & I think “fuck John Lennon”.

    Maybe it would’ve been more like Shaq & Kobe between those two over time–we’ll never know for sure.

    I appreciate that you put many an anti-establishment type on a pedestal (Lennon, Strummer, Cobain, Morrison, Bill Hicks…pretty much anyone who leaves the planet before they should have a chance to get older & probably release more embarrassing work or simply not work much at all & remain entrenched in their addictions–or who knows, maybe to everyone’s surprise, change up their habits & become healthier & happier people). I don’t know…there’s something to be said for it being better fading away rather than burning out…slow rust as it were. I never agreed with Neil Young there. Except for the “rock n roll will never die part”.

    Obviously Lennon didn’t leave the planet because of his hard living; just a shame period. Want to acknowledge that for sure. But the whole Lennon’s cool and McCartney’s not thing just needs to die once & for all. Put a fork in it.

  2. my point isn’t John rules and Paul sucks

    it’s that John could write great sloganeering message songs and Paul can’t

    just because I say Ichiro Suzuki doesn’t hit for power doesn’t mean I think he’s a bad player

    George Carlin just died at 71 he didn’t sell out or start to suck – it’s possible and should be lauded

  3. Noel Gallagher: If John Lennon were alive today he’d be writing shite like Biker Like an Icon too.

    I don’t disagree and How Do I Sleep wasn’t really merited – although again Paul wrote really mean stuff about John – he just wasn’t a venomously and viciously good at it – so John’s stuff seems worse.

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