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Snap judgment: Sheryl Crow's 'Shine Over Babylon'

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I remember the days when a new Sheryl Crow single would get me excited. In fact, if you’ll bear with me for a moment, I’m gonna go open iTunes and play a back-to-back-to-back set of “Leaving Las Vegas,” “My Favorite Mistake,” and “If It Makes You Happy.”

Ahhhh. Now that’s better.

The thing is, though, somewhere between that frozen-fake smile of her 2002 “Soak Up the Sun” video and those recent, painful hair-color commercials that made me think she wrote recorded “Not Fade Away” for the sole purpose of starting a bidding war among Revlon, L’Oréal, and Nice ‘N Easy, I kinda stopped caring about Crow’s musical output, while hoping someday she’d turn me into a rabid fan all over again.

With that in mind, I’m on the fence about whether Crow’s new single, “Shine Over Babylon” is going to be the song to do it. It’s got its socially conscious heart in the right place, to be sure, and the kind of “lighters in the air” chorus that’ll probably work well as an encore during Crow’s next tour, but my very first impression was that a decade ago, this would’ve been more album filler than lead single. Also, the video is as heavy-handed as it is low-budget. On the other hand, after listening four or five more times, “Babylon” is starting to grow on me. Weary indignation is a tough sell for a pop single, but Crow manages to make it catchy: “We celebrate the golden cow/Praise the bloated bank account/If there’s a God, where is he now?” And really, do we want a Billboard Top 10 comprised entirely of blips and bleeps and spelled-out lyrics? Shouldn’t we celebrate the rhyming of “ganja” and “damned ya”? Or maybe not.

Oy. How’s that for a totally contradictory, wishy-washy review? Clearly, I need more caffeine, so I’m gonna go grab a Diet Coke and let you guys pass judgment on this single in the comments section below. Be decisive, so I don’t have to!

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