Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

Sheryl Crow ft. Annie Clark – Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You

The most highly anticipated collaboration of the year (not pictured: collaboration, anticipation) with a protest song! Obviously we love it…


Julian Axelrod: David Byrne and St. Vincent’s Love This Giant is a wound I’m still nursing six years later. How could a collaboration between two of my favorite artists produce such a boring, stilted slog? The answer is simple: as with every album and movie in history, it didn’t have enough Annie Clark. “Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You” suffers a similar fate, as Sheryl drags Annie in to sing four lines of a half-baked protest anthem that recalls your mom’s friend’s outraged Facebook status. Even if she didn’t supply the venomous guitar solo that buoys her inimitable wail, it’s very much in her spirit. Unsurprisingly, it’s also the one moment where this song truly comes to life.

Alfred Soto: Straightening — in every sense — Annie Clark’s contributions turns an otherwise fusty Sheryl Crow track into a St. Vincent track vying for what used to be called AOR play. A musician recording a track about liars and lying after November 2016 is asking for political interpretations from an audience that needs no convincing. Whether they need a gnarlier Crow anthem or a straighter St. Vincent track we’ll soon see.

Thomas Inskeep: When I first saw this was out, I was really hoping it was a cover of the 1977 Alan Parsons Project single. Unfortunately, it’s not anywhere so interesting, just a return to Sheryl’s ’90s/’00s pop-rock style with guest vocals by St. Vincent. The lyrics refer to our current times, and since Crow is not the most subtle lyricist, they’re pedantic and unlistenable. (Yes, Sheryl, we know: THINGS ARE BAD.) 

Dorian Sinclair: “Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You” is enjoyably scathing, and the bass and drums do a good job of keeping it whirring smoothly along. Ultimately, though, it feels a little repetitive, particularly when the third verse tries to get away with rhyming “bracelet” and, uh, “bracelet.”

Katherine St Asaph: More un-#remembered ’90s: when the now-all-but-destroyed folk-rock genre still got grudging respect, when the conversation wasn’t smothered by 500 layers of irony, taste and Discourse and thus “money is the monkey giving you a backache” counted as a protest lyric. And when Annie Clark, had she been recording then, would have made significantly less interesting music. I liked this a little less when I imagined the bridge leading into “Los Ageless.”

John Seroff: Kinda feels like they wanted to be like Luscious Jackson and ended up at Sugar Ray.

Alex Clifton: We’ve got the weird theatricality of Annie Clark’s music with one of Sheryl Crow’s rockier performances in a long, long time. I’m not sure how this would fare as a solo track from either party, but I know that this is the kind of song I would’ve fallen head-over-heels for when I was 14, and I’m glad to report that I’m still really into songs like this as an adult.

Danilo Bortoli: It’s almost impossible to make Annie Clark seem uninteresting or even unimportant in this day and age, but “Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You” is an exception. The guitar, her most powerful asset, timidly appears over at the end and loses its charm. Everything surrounding this mess feels so damn offensively ordinary, as the classic pop rock song Crow has been singing for ages, but also as something Clark could have helped to make so much better. 

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