John Sieger
Sieger on Songs

“A Change Would Do You Good”

Great song by the underrated Sheryl Crow. Why can’t she get more respect?

By - May 18th, 2016 02:37 pm
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Sheryl Crow. Photo from Sheryl Crow website.

Sheryl Crow. Photo from Sheryl Crow website.

There’s success and then there’s respect. I imagine the former is not all that hard to take without the latter. Michael Bolton is probably on his private island right now getting a foot massage from a former super model — and the last thing worrying him is that he’s considered a laughingstock.

Sheryl Crow gets a lot of respect to go with her cash mountain, but is it enough? She can go toe to toe with any male superstar. She has everything Tom Petty has, but I don’t think the level of esteem is as high. Since there’s no respect meter I’m aware of, I might be wrong about that.

I found her first hit single annoying at first, and in that respect, I may have been guilty as well of underestimating her. “All I Wanna Do” coming from The Rolling Stones, or any other band of roues, would have struck me as cool. But I’ve evolved, as the politicians like to say, and feel like sticking up for a sister who is probably more than able to defend herself.

A brilliant melodist and witty lyricist, Crow works in collaboration quite often. She has a degree in composition and performance, so she’s not a diva/puppet given writing credit for the occasional apostrophe. She’s a multi-instrumentalist who started producing on her second album. Her bonafides are all in order.

Crow, who is big enough to deserve a nickname like Queen Of Pop, throws out hooks at an alarming rate. The one that just rocks my planet is “A Change Would Do You Good.” Watch this one first to hear what a great song it is. Yes, the top of the pops is wonderful from time to time. Now treat yourself to this experimental video by French director, Michel Gondry. It’s a hoot and has cameos from some of my favorite comic actors.

Let’s go through some of the more surreal lyrics this side of John Lennon or Beck:

Ten years living in a paper bag
Feedback baby, he’s a flipped out cat
He’s a platinum canary, drinkin’ falstaff beer
Mercedes rule, and a rented lear
Bottom feeder insincere
Prophet lo-fi pioneer
Sell the house and go to school
Get a young girlfriend, daddy’s jewel

A change would do you good
A change would do you good

God’s little gift is on the rag
Poster girl posing in a fashion mag
Canine, feline, Jekyll and Hyde
Wear your fake fur on the inside
Queen of south beach, aging blues
Dinner’s at six, wear your cement shoes
I thought you were singing your heart out to me
Your lips were syncing and now I see

A change would do you good
A change would do you good

Chasing dragons with plastic swords
Jack off Jimmy, everybody wants more
Scully and angel on the kitchen floor
And I’m calling Buddy on the ouija board
I’ve been thinking ’bout catching a train
Leave my phone machine by the radar range
Hello it’s me, I’m not at home
If you’d like to reach me, leave me alone

A change would do you good
A change would do you good
Hello, it’s me, I’m not at home
If you’d like to reach me, leave me alone

A change would do you good

MACLEOD, BRIAN S. / CROW, SHERYL / TROTT, JEFF

© Brian Macleod Sheryl Crow Jeff Trott

It’s very hard to get away with this level of dementia, but you know what helps? An absolutely sterling melody and chord changes that support them. The band is rocking. The William Burroughs cut-and-paste method was used to write these lyrics. The three writers actually threw snippets of ideas in a paper bag and drew them like raffle tickets. This jumble of thoughts reads like a map of a very scattered mind. One that might well need a change of scenery, as the song suggests. It has a nice snottiness to it and apparently the second verse makes an oblique reference to Madonna. It’s hard to imagine these lyrics passing through multiple filters earlier in music history. They’re blunt and a little vulgar, just like life. Crow does have the distinction of being banned from sale at Walmart — she criticized them in another song. That’s a badge of honor.

In 2019 Sheryl Crow will be eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I hope she goes in on the first ballot on the merit of her sturdy, snappy and memorable songs and performances. And I hope Tom Petty gets to induct her. They might actually be the same person.

2 thoughts on “Sieger on Songs: “A Change Would Do You Good””

  1. Andy Popovich says:

    I am friends with Tom Petty’s wife Dana. We grew up in the same Michigan town of Flushing. I also have met Sheryl back in the mid 1990’s when she was on HORDE fest tour. I love the music that they both have allowed us to enjoy. I am touched by many of the songs from both. I myself feel that comparing them to each other is a contrast that does not give either of them the proper due they should enjoy. They are both musicians with the utmost musical talent the total personal obsession with creating and performing music as a life priority struggling with family life time and music time. No disrespect intended or implied as they both love their families.

  2. andy Popovich says:

    I would like to know the name of the girl in this video of the song we are talking about. I hope you can find out .
    Music video by Sheryl Crow performing A Change Would Do You Good. (C) 1996 A&M Records.
    She totally rocks Sheryls Song.

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