Tuesday Night Music Club
Released: August 3, 1993
Peak: 3 US, 8 UK, 5 CN, 12 AU
Sales (in millions): 7.6 US, 0.6 UK, 12.9 world (includes US and UK)
Genre: mainstream rock
Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
Writing credits: David Baerwald (1-3, 5-6,8-9), Bill Bottrell (1-7, 9-11), Wyn Cooper (9), Sheryl Crow (1-11), Kevin Gilbert (2-3,5-7,9-10), Kevin Hunter (5), Brian MacLeod (3,5-6), David Ricketts (2-3,5-6), Dan Schwartz (7,10).
Total Running Time: 49:42
3.751 out of 5.00 (average of 15 ratings)
Quotable: “A peak of mainstream pop-rock” – Rickey Wright, Amazon.com
Awards: (Click on award to learn more).
About the Album:
It is difficult to review this album honestly because of “the controversy that dogged this album once it succeeded.” JW Crow’s involvement with the collective of musicians who helped her craft their namesake album went sour when they perceived her as taking more credit than was due.
After “gigging as a backing vocalist for everyone from Don Henley to Michael Jackson,” STE Crow’s first attempt at recording her own album resulted in “a slick set of contemporary pop, relying heavily on ballads. Upon hearing the completed album, Crow convinced A&M not to release the album.” STE Then-boyfriend Kevin Gilbert and producer Bill Bottrell tried to salvage the album, but eventually aborted it.
Gilbert, however, introduced her to the Tuesday Night Music Club, a group of “Los Angeles-based songwriters and producers, including David Baerwald, David Ricketts, and Brian McLeod.” STE The loose collective “would get together, drink beer, jam, and write songs.” STE
Crow “decided to craft her debut album around the songs and spirit of the collective. It was, for the most part, an inspired idea, since Tuesday Night Music Club has a loose, ramshackle charm that her unreleased debut lacked.” STE
“With her gruff, edgy delivery and sweet, seductive timbre, singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow evokes comparisons to tough yet tender blues-rockers like Bonnie Raitt. But Sheryl Crow is too talented to be plugged into any one stylistic bag. Tuesday Night Music Club is a striking debut recording, teeming with the kind of musical curiosity all too rare in contemporary pop.” CDU
“While the songs all feature Crow on lead vocals and were all co-composed by her, the reality is she was part of a collective, yet only she got the record contract and therefore, the bulk of the credit for the resulting effort.” JW
“The opening quartet of [songs] are remarkable testaments to their collaboration, proving that roots rock can sound contemporary and have humor” STE while exhibiting “remarkable storytelling skills.” CDU That same spirit, however, also resulted in some half-finished songs…Still, even with the weaker moments,” STE “Crow and [Co. usually] strike just the right tone” RW and “Crow manages to create an identity for herself – a classic rocker at heart but with enough smarts to stay contemporary.” STE
The TNMCers’ “playing is typically on the mark, loose and limber…But the group has a weakness for mid-tempo arrangements that don't always do justice to Crow's range; her later efforts branch out more into harder rock and slower, more intense ballads, to good effect.” JW
The album kicks off with “the Beatles overtones of her freedom cry Run, Baby, Run.” CDU By just “the second line of this album [which] references the day Aldous Huxley died – it's obvious this is going to be a musical horse of a different color.” JW Of course, that same line also demonstrates how the album “occasionally reaches too far in attempting Significance.” RW Nonetheless, the “Retro Hammond organ, slinky blues licks, nicely synchopated piano and Crow's keening vocals propel the steady-building ‘Run, Baby, Run.’ Some soaring slide work on the break and Crow's quirky lyrics embellish the song's classic verse-chorus-verse structure into something special.” JW
“Crow has a gift for taking familiar song structures that fit like a comfortable shoe and imbuing them with fresh twists. On the otherwise Joplinesque blues grind Leaving Las Vegas, it’s the way the muted electronic drums and laconic bass line counterpoint the chorus of background vocals surrounding Crow's impassioned lead voice.” JW The song “mixes…metaphors to equate relationships to games of chance, tolling themes of duty and resignation.” CDU
Those two songs were both released as singles. The former was a minor UK hit and the latter a top-10 alternative rock hit in the U.S. The album really, broke, however, upon the release of third single All I Wanna Do. While “somewhat lightweight and widely misunderstood,” JW “the deceptively infectious” STE song “put this otherwise rather unassuming album on the map” JW first as a #2 pop hit and then as a Grammy-winner for Record of the Year. The “’Stuck in the Middle with You’ homage” RW “was slotted number nine in the run order for a reason…it's a relative throwaway of a song – a slacker fantasia set to vibes, percussion, slide guitar and a simple, endlessly repeating bass figure – that was never intended to characterize this album.” JW It “might not be Hall of Fame material, but it was good enough to launch a career.” JW
After the success of that song, Crow followed up with another top-5 U.S. hit with the balld Strong Enough, “a mostly-acoustic tune that strongly recalls Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac.” DBW The album pulled off one more top-40 hit in the U.S. with Can’t Cry Anymore. The song’s “clanking guitar riff” RW makes for an irrestible “pulsing rhythm.” JW
Elsewhere on the album, Crow “seems to want to channel Sly & the Family Stone” JW with Solidify, “but the style just doesn’t suit Crow at all.” JW She does better with “the funky threat of What I Can Do for You,” RW even if “the chirpy background vocals (‘you – you’) grate” JW and “her speak-singing on the verses…doesn’t come off well.” JW
The “surreal” CDU “Na-Na Song offers a “pure delirious rush of…chanted free-association lyrics,” JW although it can come across as “an embarrassing stream-of-consciousness ripoff of John Lennon’s ‘Give Peace a Chance.’” DBW
Crow invests an “emotional charge” JW on the “touching” CDU “No One Said It Would Be Easy, “a song about trying to salvage a troubled relationship” JW Backed by a “dreamy lead guitar,” JW “Sheryl Crow brings a post-modern country sensibility to bear.” CDU
Next up is “the jazzy We Do What We Can” CDU followed by the “sweet pedal-steel inflected gospel of I Shall Believe,” CDU “a strong cut that shows off Crow's burgeoning skills as a composer and singer of moving, contemplative ballads.” JW
“Overall, Tuesday Night Music Club is an occasionally spotty but generally solid debut” JW that is “a peak of mainstream pop-rock.” RW “That’s the lasting impression Tuesday Night Music Club leaves.” STE
Notes: The deluxe edition included a second disc of previously unreleased tracks (“Coffee Shop,” “Killer Life,” “Essential Trip of Hereness,” “You Want More”), B-sides (“Reach Around Jerk,” “Volvo Cowgirl 99,” “All by Myself,” “On the Outside,” “D’yer Mak’er”), and a new remix of “I Shall Believe.”
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