meta-scriptYesterday Once More (Twice Over): An Oral History Of The 1994 Carpenters Tribute Album, 'If I Were A Carpenter' |


Yesterday Once More (Twice Over): An Oral History Of The 1994 Carpenters Tribute Album, 'If I Were A Carpenter'

25 years after the release of Carpenters tribute album 'If I Were A Carpenter', the Recording Academy speaks to those involved about the project's legacy

GRAMMYs/Sep 13, 2019 - 08:26 pm

In popular culture, the cyclical adage "Everything old is new again" is often embodied in the form of the tribute album—an unwieldy vehicle of veneration whose success lies as much with the source material as with those interpreting it. A tribute album’s chances of hitting that sonic sweet spot are also enhanced when it follows the loosely structured (and hotly debated) 20-year nostalgia cycle—the idea that one’s generational fads of music, fashion, technology, books, slang and other cultural touchstones resurface after a couple decades (give or take) of mainstream dormancy. With its roster of 1990s alternative music rabble-rousers celebrating the 1970s clean-cut, musical prodigy duo The Carpenters, the left-of-center tribute album If I Were A Carpenter wonderfully delivers on these concepts in spades.    

This month marks 25 years since the release of If I Were A Carpenter, providing a nice echo of its origins, as the tribute album was initially conceived as a commemoration of the 25th anniversary of The Carpenters' debut album, Offering. On its surface, the idea of rowdy alt-rockers running bubbly Carpenters songs through cranked guitars and buzzy amplifiers might've seemed like nothing more than a tongue-in-cheek goof. As KROQ’s music director Darcy Fulmer said of the album at the time, "It shows that people who like alternative music liked dork music when they were little, too."

However, the story behind If I Were A Carpenter involves no winks or chuckles. In fact, it's downright irony-free. It was a labor of love hatched by two longtime friends, Matt Wallace and Dave Konjoyan, who bonded over their love of the exemplary music crafted by the sibling duo of Karen and Richard Carpenter. Both ended up working in the music industry—Dave as a music journalist and Matt as a record producer—and when they first started working on the idea for a Carpenters tribute album, they ended up wrangling a disparate group of alternative artists, punk bands and college-rock crooners who all seemed to share in their genuine affinity for The Carpenters' inescapably infectious pop perfection.

To salute two-and-a-half decades of the If I Were A Carpenter tribute album (as well as 50 years of The Carpenters' own musical magic), the Recording Academy conducted an oral history featuring the album's co-producers Matt Wallace and Dave Konjoyan, legendary songwriter (and Carpenters collaborator) Paul Williams, and many of the artists involved, including Matthew Sweet, Johnette Napolitano, Grant-Lee Phillips, members of The Cranberries, Cracker, Dishwalla and more.

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Matt Wallace (co-producer): Dave and I met in Physical Education class in high school and became friends after we bonded over singing Carpenters songs in the locker room one day. It wasn’t the smartest thing to do at that moment in time because there was probably no quicker way to get your ass kicked in high school during the 1970s, other than to maybe sing Barry Manilow songs. Fast forward to the early '90s, Dave brought up the idea of this tribute record to me because I had produced some big records for Faith No More and The Replacements, as well as a few bands on A&M Records, which The Carpenters had been on. We pitched it to A&M and thankfully got the greenlight.

Dave Konjoyan (co-producer): I was doing some music journalism at the time and I was noticing a lot of artists were expressing appreciation for The Carpenters, especially for Karen's voice. It was artists like Chrissie Hynde, k.d. lang, Sonic Youth, Babes In Toyland and a few others. Tribute albums were also starting to really become a bigger thing, so I thought there might be enough artists interested in doing one dedicated to The Carpenters.

Matt Wallace (co-producer): The contrast of the impeccably arranged, glossy pop of The Carpenters with bands that were a little scrappier and less refined is what made it so interesting. You look at "Goodbye to Love" by American Music Club or "Superstar" by Sonic Youth or "Rainy Days And Mondays" by Cracker and you get these dark readings of the songs that feel really aligned with how Karen was singing them and how she was probably feeling at the time. Though, to flip that, some of the bands also did really well at turning in brighter versions of what The Carpenters did, like the beautiful version of "Close To You" by The Cranberries and "Top of the World" by Shonen Knife. 

Dave Konjoyan (co-producer): A&M might've been interested in us pursuing a more mainstream group of artists, but from the beginning the concept for Matt and I was always the alternative band route. A lot of bands on the record—Sonic Youth, Sheryl Crow, The Cranberries, Babes In Toyland—are ones that we really targeted right from the beginning. We got a lot of artists agreeing to it right of the bat.

Matt Wallace (co-producer): We also had a couple bands—Smashing Pumpkins, Paul Westerberg, Stone Temple Pilots—that were really on board but just didn't work out due to scheduling conflicts or various other reasons. But I'm super pleased with all of the bands who participated and how it all turned out. I mean, Sonic Youth liking The Carpenters? That was mind-blowing to most people at the time.

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All throughout the 1990s, there was a seemingly constant rotation of alt-friendly tribute albums dedicated to popular '70s artists: Kiss (1994's Kiss My Ass), Led Zeppelin (1995's Encomium), John Lennon (1995's Working Class Hero) and The Clash (1999's Burning London), just to name a few. There were even a couple alt-heavy tribute albums playfully dedicated to 1970s television, including 1995's Saturday Morning: Cartoons' Greatest Hits and 1996's Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks. Released in the fall of 1994, If I Were A Carpenter was certainly on the front end of that wave, an important note that helps contextualize the album's peculiar subject matter, its assorted roster and its unquestionably raucous-yet-reverent tone.

David Lowery (Cracker): When I first heard about the opportunity of being a part of a Carpenters tribute album, I thought it was kind of odd and cool. Like, who is thinking about The Carpenters right now? Stacked up against some of the other tribute records of the time, The Carpenters seemed like a much less obvious choice and that made it more interesting to us. They were one of my guilty pleasures that weren't exactly in vogue in the early '90s.

Matthew Sweet: The Carpenters were kind of omnipresent when I was a kid. You heard them whether you were seeking them out or not. Both Karen and Richard were so talented and their catalog provided such a wealth of material for this tribute record to pull from.

Fergal Lawler (The Cranberries): I thought The Carpenters were great. They made fantastic, heartfelt songs that still sound great today. They were actually really big in Ireland. We definitely heard them on the radio all the time, especially "Close To You."

Naoko Yamano (Shonen Knife): Since I'm Japanese and can't understand their English lyrics very well, it was their sound that really reached my mind. But that was enough because their melody lines and Karen's vocals were so attractive to me. Their song "Sing" was in one of our school textbooks, so I thought that their music was only for good children. My friends liked them, though.

Johnette Napolitano (Concrete Blonde): I was so happy to be able to be a part of this record because The Carpenters absolutely owned AM radio during my junior high and high school years. Richard's certainly a talented arranger, but for me it was really all about Karen. Karen’s voice was so incredibly soulful and totally made for radio. You hear a hundred voices when you hear her sing. Plus, she could really play the drums, which is not something you saw women doing at the time.

J. R. Richards (Dishwalla): The Carpenters were cool because there was such a weird, darker tinge underneath all of the beautiful background vocals and lovely sentiments. I really liked the juxtaposition they brought to their songs.

Mark Eitzel (American Music Club): When we first got asked to be involved, I was like "Absolutely, I love The Carpenters!" They made incredible records. For all the schlock that you would hear on the radio at the time, they never offended me. Their songs were so well written, perfectly arranged, and just sung so beautifully.

Grant-Lee Phillips (Grant Lee Buffalo): For me and for so many other bands of that era, The Carpenters were the music of our childhood. The '70s were a mixed bag. It was the age of the superstar and it was gaudy. There was a strange patriotic flair juxtaposed against scandal and violence. Yet, here was this duo trying to breakthrough with some light in a very bizarre and clouded era. I vividly remember being a kid and riding around in the car with my mom singing along to The Carpenters. They were really close to me, no pun intended.     

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On the combined strength of Richard's instrumental prowess and Karen's soulful three-octave contralto (as well as her complex, skilled drumming), The Carpenters released 14 studio albums and over 40 singlesmany of which attained platinum-selling status and reached the top of the charts in multiple countries. Their biggest Billboard Hot 100 hit singles—"(They Long To Be) Close To You," "We’ve Only Just Begun," "Rainy Days And Mondays," "Superstar," "Top of the World," "Please Mr. Postman"charted in the early '70s, but the sibling duo released albums, produced television specials, and remained a fixture on Top 40 radio all the way up until Karen’s untimely death in 1983 from anorexia-induced heart failure. As The Carpenters legacy has continually been reassessed over the years, it is Karen’s emotionally resonant vocals that remain the summit of their many creative talents.  

Johnette Napolitano (Concrete Blonde): Karen was really something special and she just gave everything she had. She was a fragile wick that just burned herself all the way down and didn’t say no to anything. She was almost sacrificed in a way, but out of that came some of the most beautiful music to ever be recorded. 

Paul Williams (songwriter): The wonderful thing about the way Richard produced their albums was that with everything going on in the track—instrumentation, orchestration, the background harmonies—there was never anything that threw a shadow on Karen. Her vocals were kept front and center so you could experience the emotion they carried and the elegance of her voice that was such a hybrid of melancholy, sensuality and sadness.

Grant-Lee Phillips (Grant Lee Buffalo): Karen's voice was so gorgeously unique, the way she sang in that lower register. This tribute album is interesting because Karen had died just a little over a decade before and that strange grief was still somewhat in the air. It actually gave me some pause because I didn’t want to be disrespectful in any way.

Matt Wallace (co-producer): Karen's voice was one of the most incredible instruments of pop music ever. Her tone and her control were incredible, but it was also the subtext—that anybody who has ever had any feelings of melancholy or has been down, can really connect to it. As much as Richard tried to polish and create so much gloss and sheen to the instrumentation, the emotional resonance in her voice hit so deep and would not be denied.

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When it came time for the bands involved to pick which Carpenters song they were going to perform, there was surprisingly little drama. While this could be somewhat expected from an artist's catalog as deep and rich as The Carpenters, it also speaks to the varied musical tastes of the bands paying tribute. Some artists like Matthew Sweet, Grant-Lee Phillips and The Cranberries delivered performances fairly true to the originals, while other artists like 4 Non Blondes, Babes In Toyland, Bettie Serveert and Sonic Youth took decidedly broader creative liberties. Others found a contrasting middle ground between the slick pop craftsmanship of the originals and their own sonic predilections.

Paul Williams (songwriter): Songs are not written in cement. They're just a starting place to bring your own emotions and express your own feelings through your own interpretations.             

Matt Wallace (co-producer): I love that most of the bands shifted towards the brooding, melancholy side of what The Carpenters did. Richard and Karen were more than just the bright, shiny, effervescent side of what they are sometimes most remembered for. Most of the bands were pretty flexible because we asked everyone to pick two or three songs. That way we could make sure to hopefully get at least one of their picks. Some of the bigger artists like Sheryl Crow or The Cranberries might’ve been able to pick theirs a little earlier.  

David Lowery (Cracker): I knew everyone was going to want to do "Superstar," but I've always loved "Rainy Days And Mondays." I’d like to say we were musical geniuses by discovering the beauty in giving it an even more down tempo groove, but what you hear on the recording is actually a take where we’re still learning the song. Bob Rupe, who was playing bass for us then, was walking us through the chord progression really slowly as we figured everything out. Mark Linkous from Sparklehorse was sitting in with us, just listening along and throwing a couple guitar lines in here and there. I think we also tried a more upbeat, alternative take on it that didn’t work as well. So, we went back to this warm-up take, added some strings and background vocals to it a couple weeks later, and it became this weird accidental hybrid that we just loved.

Naoko Yamano (Shonen Knife): We were shown two or three songs to cover and I firmly picked "Top of the World." There was no other choice for me. I really love that song and the melody lines are perfect.

"Songs are not written in cement. They're just a starting place to bring your own emotions and express your own feelings through your own interpretations."           

Fergal Lawler (The Cranberries): We picked "Close To You" and we were delighted when they said it was still available. I remember I had just heard a cover version of Smashing Pumpkins doing Thin Lizzy's "Dancing In The Moonlight" and I really loved their slowed down version of it, so I suggested we try it that way. I remember when Dolores [O'Riordan] was recording her vocals, she didn’t want to sing the line "They sprinkled moondust in your hair" because she thought it sounded a bit spacey. She felt a bit embarrassed about it, so she wanted to just kind of mumble her way through that part.

Johnette Napolitano (Concrete Blonde): I was really hoping to get "Superstar" because I was really close with Leon Russell, who was one of the song's co-writers. I was pissed when Thurston [Moore] got it because it's a singer's song and he blows. But Marc Moreland and I had a lot of fun recording "Hurting Each Other." All the girls wore "Karen" nametags and all the guys wore "Richard" nametags. We rented concert chimes—the huge, six-foot tall brass tube kind that you hit with a hammer. That was when you could still smoke indoors, so I have this vivid memory of Marc Moreland in a cloud of smoke just banging on the concert chimes through all the guitar craziness at the end of the song. 

Matt Wallace (co-producer): I recorded Sheryl Crow doing "Solitaire" in Los Angeles because I was having to catch her between shows while she was touring in and out of Europe. I remember it took us three different studio sessions to get the exact vocals we wanted for her. For one of those sessions, she flew in from Germany, threw her bags down in her apartment, and came directly to the studio to sing. She's probably the hardest working person I've run into in this business and I’m such a fan of what she did on that somber version of "Solitaire."

Peter Visser (Bettie Serveert): We did "For All We Know" and in retrospect, I think my guitar is a bit over the top, too desperate to make a "rock song" out of it. For the ending, I thought the song could use some cowbells, so in the lobby of the studio we found an aluminum lemon squeezer, put it on a piece of rope, and beat it with a fork. I think Carol did a great job with the singing. Her voice sounds really close and warm in the verses and goes full on in the choruses. 

Carol van Dyk (Bettie Serveert): After recording all the music, we came up with the idea to have me lying flat on my back on the floor in the middle of the studio. They hung the microphone right above my face and the guys placed little tea lights around me and turned off the studio lamps to create a nice soft atmosphere. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a camera with us, so no pictures.

J. R. Richards (Dishwalla): Recording "It's Going to Take Some Time" was officially the very first thing we did after getting signed to A&M. The tribute album was already in motion, like most of the bands had already picked songs and were in the process of recording them. In fact, we actually recorded a full demo of "Close To You" to show them that we wouldn’t do a sh*tty job. When we took it to A&M to show them, we were told it had already been picked by another band. So, we took a shot at "It’s Going To Take Some Time" and tried to take it to a different rhythmic place. We speed it up quite a bit because we didn’t want it to sound too sweet. I played the original keyboard intro on a Wurlitzer right at the beginning and then we took it off into its own journey.   

Mark Eitzel (American Music Club): We just wanted to approach "Goodbye To Love" really simply with no key changes and no orchestration or anything. Just a simple band vibe. All the way up until the final mixes our producer was trying to get me to re-record my vocals because he thought Richard wasn’t excited about the idea of people recording his songs in a bastardized way. Like, Richard’s already made them perfect, so why would you want these messy rockers to spoil the perfection? Nowadays I would’ve worked my ass off to make it perfect, but back then I was just a young idiot. I think the track turned out really great though.

Grant-Lee Phillips (Grant Lee Buffalo): Our version of "We've Only Just Begun" is a little more reverent to the original because we were really struck by the musical architecture of the song. We studied how it was put together and tried to be true to it. It was a natural thing for me to interpret it by singing it a bit higher and trying to meet Karen's vocal in the middle.

Dave Konjoyan (co-producer): I remember there being such a sense of excitement about every track as they came in. From our conversations with the bands, my impression was that they were all doing it from a heartfelt place. They certainly all brought their personalities to their tracks and they all seemed to have some affinity for the music and for The Carpenters as artists.

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Deep into the project, Wallace and Konjoyan ended up getting the ultimate seal of approval, as Richard Carpenter agreed to sing and play on one of the tracks. Matthew Sweet had requested Richard’s participation on his true-to-form adaptation of "Let Me Be The One" (a syrupy ballad from the quadruple-platinum Carpenters album from 1971) and somewhat surprisingly to most everyone involved, he agreed.

Matthew Sweet: It was my request to see if we could find him and get him to play on it. At the time, I had this 1970s Dodge Challenger and he had a huge car collection that was in a big building in an office park. He took me out there to see it, which was really cool. He was super nice to me and seemed really supportive of doing the track.

Matt Wallace (co-producer): From the beginning, we knew we wanted to get Richard on board, but we also knew we were limited in regards to which artists he would fit with and feel comfortable. I think he wanted to make sure he wasn't straying too far from the legacy of The Carpenters and he didn't want to do a disservice to what he and Karen had so carefully built.

Dave Konjoyan (co-producer): I was there at the studio the day Matthew and Richard recorded "Let Me Be The One" and I remember them having a great time doing it. I think Richard felt appreciated. It was a really great moment for Matt and I to get to bring these different musical worlds together on the album and it really came together in that moment in the studio.

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If I Were A Carpenter was officially released on September 13, 1994. A split single between Redd Kross's "Yesterday Once More" and Sonic Youth's "Superstar" was released to radio, and the music videos of both tracks got substantial airplay on MTV. Dishwalla even got to perform "It's Going To Take Some Time" on the short-lived late-night talk show The Jon Stewart Show. Rolling Stone called the album "affectionate, almost reverent" and Entertainment Weekly had a listening party with Richard to get his thoughts, from Sonic Youth ("I love it. From the heart. It's quite haunting") to Shonen Knife ("I like the energy, but they've left out a couple of chord changes"). But what did those involved with the project think about each other's tracks?     

Grant-Lee Phillips: Reverence can come in many packages.

Matt Wallace (co-producer): Once we got all of the tracks back and heard that the arc of the record was leaning a little more somber, we knew that we wanted to start the record off with American Music Club's "Goodbye To Love." Then, Shonen Knife's "Top of the World" became the perfect follow-up track because it's so upbeat and effervescent. They beat The Carpenters at their own game on that one.

Naoko Yamano (Shonen Knife): I love Redd Kross so much and Jeff McDonald's vocals on "Yesterday Once More" are really great!

Dave Konjoyan (co-producer): I really liked what Cracker did with "Rainy Days And Mondays." It was certainly a different interpretation than the original, but it was very fitting for who they are as a band.        

Grant-Lee Phillips (Grant Lee Buffalo): I most enjoyed The Cranberries take on "Close To You" and the way Dolores delivered the lyrics in her way of bending the notes and just wrapping them around her finger.     

Paul Williams: I love David Lowery's singing on "Rainy Days And Mondays" and the way those strings roll in about midway through. Initially I thought it may have been a little tongue-in-cheek, but I love how they totally made it their own. I really believe him when he sings "What I got they used to call the blues."

J. R. Richards (Dishwalla): Shonen Knife's "Top Of The World" is just completely out there and fun. Sonic Youth's "Superstar" is also amazing. It's just so harrowing. 

Fergal Lawler (The Cranberries): I really enjoyed the Sonic Youth track. That one stood out the most to me when we listened to the whole thing.

Peter Visser (Bettie Serveert): My favorite is "Superstar" by Sonic Youth because Thurston Moore sings it so beautifully. I really liked the music video with the golden microphone as well.

Paul Williams (songwriter): The wonderful thing about listening to Thurston sing "Superstar" is that it's totally believable. That one feels so much like it's about Karen. You really get the sense of remembering her and missing her in his performance. It's just marvelous.

Matt Wallace (co-producer): At the time, the most forward-leaning track was Dishwalla's "It's Going To Take Some Time" because of that blending of loops and real drums. It feels like five years ahead of its time. They were the only band on the tribute that hadn’t already released an album but we just really liked them.

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While the last 25 years has seen If I Were A Carpenter serving double duty as an authentically celebratory tribute to the legacy of The Carpenters and also a telling sonic snapshot into the unaffected, unpretentious side of '90s alternative music, the album does have one nagging (albeit trivial) piece of unfinished business: as of yet, there's no 12" LP vinyl version of the record. Although the tribute did get an original-run vinyl release as a boxset of seven 7" singles (a very nostalgically appropriate approach in itself), vinyl collectors have been clamoring for a full-size 12" LP for years, hoping for either a label-sponsored vinyl debut reissue or even a limited-run Record Store Day exclusive offering.   

Matthew Sweet: I remember they did a bunch of 7" singles but it never got the full 12" record treatment. In the '90s, you weren’t guaranteed vinyl at all. So that was kind of a special and unusually cool way to release it.  

Carol van Dyk (Bettie Serveert): A while back somebody asked us if we had a spare Carpenters tribute vinyl boxset. We had to disappoint them, but I totally understand why they wanted one, it’s such a cool thing to have as a fan.

David Lowery: When I became a thrift store loving college kid in the '80s, Carpenters records were always an interesting novelty to come across. It’d be nice to see this album get that treatment too.

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Dave Konjoyan (co-producer): That’s a little bit of a sore spot. Physically, the record's been out of print for years but I think it would be really great if they ever put out a full vinyl version. I'd really love to see it.

Matthew Sweet: To finally get a full vinyl pressing of it would be a no-brainer for something like Record Store Day. Somebody's got to make that happen! That would really bring the whole tribute full circle.

Sheryl Crow performing in 2024
Sheryl Crow performs in Franklin, Tennessee in March 2024.

Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images


5 Ways Sheryl Crow Has Made An Impact: Advocating For Artist Rights, Uplifting Young Musicians & More

As the Recording Academy honors Sheryl Crow at the 2024 GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards, take a look at some of her biggest contributions to the music community and other social causes.

GRAMMYs/Apr 30, 2024 - 06:05 pm

Sheryl Crow may be a nine-time GRAMMY winner and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, but her legacy extends far beyond her music. She has dedicated her career to advocating for her fellow artists and social causes close to her heart — and that's why she's one of the honorees at this year's GRAMMYs on the Hill.

On April 30, Crow will be honored at Washington's premier annual celebration of music and advocacy alongside Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) for their bipartisan spearheading of the Save Our Stages Act and the Fans First Act. The "All I Wanna Do" singer called receiving her GRAMMYs on the Hill award "a tremendous honor…because protecting the rights of creators is more important now than ever before."

Helping creators thrive has long been part of Crow's career. She has made it her lifelong mission to support other artists and stand up for causes she believes in, from co-founding a pioneering advocacy group for musicians to supporting the music program at her alma mater. 

Below, check out five ways Sheryl Crow has exemplified advocacy within the music industry — and beyond — over the course of her career.

The 2024 GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards is sponsored by City National Bank and benefits the GRAMMY Museum.

She Co-Founded The Recording Artists' Coalition

In 2000, Crow and fellow GRAMMY winner (and previous GRAMMYs on the Hill honoree) Don Henley founded the Recording Artists' Coalition. The organization's mission is to represent artists, defending their rights and interests and challenging unfair industry practices. 

One of the advocacy group's first major legislative wins came in its founding year, when then-President Bill Clinton signed a law repealing The Works Made for Hire and Copyright Corrections Act. The provision had designated musical recordings as "works for hire," thereby taking away many artists' rights to royalties.

In 2009, the Recording Artists' Coalition aligned with the Recording Academy to continue the organization's work as part of the Academy's Advocacy and Public Policy office. (Crow is also a member of the Music Artists Coalition, which was founded in 2019 and has a similar mission to protect artists' rights.)

She's Sounded The Alarm About The Dangers Of AI

Crow released her eleventh studio set, Evolution, in March and tackled the topic of artificial intelligence head-on via the LP's ominous title track. "Turned on the radio and there it was/ A song that sounded like something I wrote/ The voice and melody were hauntingly/ So familiar that I thought it was a joke," she sings on the opening stanza before questioning, "Is it beyond intelligence/ As if the soul need not exist?"

The prolific singer/songwriter explained her decision to put her concerns about AI's threat to creativity, songwriting and even artists' ownership over their own voices in an interview on the podcast Q with Tom Power earlier this month.

"It terrifies me that artists can be brought back from the dead; it terrifies me that I can sing to you a song that I had absolutely nothing to do with and you'll believe it," she said. "And so I'm waiting to see if the best of us will rise up and say, 'This cannot be' 'cause our kids need to understand that truth is truth. There is a truth, and the rest of it is non-truth." 

Later in the wide-ranging conversation, Crow added her insight into how technology, social media and the modern streaming economy are all negatively impacting listeners' relationship to music as well. "We need music that tells our story now more than we've ever needed it," she urged. "And yet, we're going to bring in technology — already, algorithms are killing our ability to even not only listen to a whole song, but to experience it at a spiritual level."

She's Championed Racial Equality In The Music Business

Amid the summer of marches, demonstrations and other civil actions in the wake of George Floyd's tragic 2020 murder, Crow used her platform and privilege as a white musician to help shine a light on the plight of Black musicians fighting for equality within the music industry.

"I stand in solidarity with the Black Music Action Coalition in their efforts to end systematic racism and racial inequality in the music business," she wrote in a 2020 social media post. "It is impossible to overestimate the contribution of Black people in our industry; Black culture has inexorably shaped the trajectory of nearly every musical genre. Most artists, myself included, simply would not be here without it. The time to acknowledge this fact is long overdue."

Crow went on to call for the music business to become a "shining example of reform to other industries." She added, "Acknowledging and making amends for both historic and ongoing inequalities, and creating a path forward to ensure they never occur again, is our highest calling."

She's A Charitable Powerhouse

Crow has long made philanthropy a central priority in her life. Along with supporting the Recording Academy's own MusiCares initiative, the "Steve McQueen" singer has backed and partnered with a veritable laundry list of non-profit organizations including, but not limited to, The Elton John AIDS Foundation, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the World Food Program, ADOPT A CLASSROOM, Pelotonia, the Delta Children's Home, Stevie Van Zandt's TeachRock Artist Council and more. 

Additionally, she's spoken out countless times about gun violence, Medicaid expansion, women's health, mental health, the death penalty, LGBTQ+ rights, and a host of other issues, particularly affecting Tennessee, where she now calls home. 

The "Soak Up The Sun" songstress has also used her musical talents to give back over the course of her career. In fact, just weeks before releasing Evolution, she contributed to the star-studded 2024 re-release of Mark Knopfler's 1983 debut solo single "Going Home: Theme of the Local Hero" to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

She Supports Music's Next Generation

A proud alumnus of the University of Missouri, Crow holds a degree in music education and has continually given back to her alma mater's music program in an effort to support the future generations of music makers. 

In 2015, Crow headlined her own benefit concert for the Mizzou School of Music's fundraising campaign, which led to the choral performance and rehearsal hall inside the campus' Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield Music Center being rechristened Sheryl Crow Hall in early 2022. 

As she's achieved veteran status in the music industry, Crow has also made a particular point to uplift and champion young female artists. In 2019, she partnered with TODAY for its "Women Who Rock: Music and Mentorship" series, and in 2020, took part in Citi's #SeeHerHearHer campaign to boost representation of women in music. More recently, she has touted Taylor Swift as a "powerhouse" and offered career advice to her now-frequent "If It Makes You Happy" duet partner, Olivia Rodrigo.

Whether she's inspiring young women or advocating for music creators of all kinds, Sheryl Crow has already left an indelible mark on the music industry. And if her previous efforts are any indication, she's not stopping anytime soon.

GRAMMYs On The Hill Awards 2024: Everything You Need To Know Including Mission, Goals, Honorees & Achievements

Sheryl Crow press photo 2024
Sheryl Crow

Photo: Dove Shore


Sheryl Crow's 'Evolution': The Rock Icon On Her "Liberating" New Album, The Song That's Her "Favorite Child" & More

As Sheryl Crow adds another album to her catalog, the freshly minted Rock & Roll Hall of Famer reflects on the major moments, musings and mushroom trips that led her to the unexpected new project.

GRAMMYs/Apr 4, 2024 - 04:24 pm

When Sheryl Crow released her tenth studio album, 2019's Threads, she declared it'd be her last — even calling it "a beautiful final statement."

"People don't listen to whole bodies of work anymore. In fact, I'm not sure they even listen to a whole song anymore," Crow explains. "So it seemed kind of, not only futile, but also, at this stage, it seems like a long process that's expensive when really, it's best to put out something you really believe in."

As it turns out, she really believed in her eleventh album, Evolution

Crow's music has always been as insightful as it is catchy, and Evolution is perhaps the most existential example of that. Throughout, the nine-time GRAMMY winner  poignantly muses over the state of the world and humankind, while also reflecting on the moments and the ideals that still give her hope. Along the way, she throws in very Sheryl Crow quips ("Anger sucks, but at least your brand's trending," she sings on "Broken Record") and makes some important statements ("We are brilliant, we are kind/ But sometimes we miss the glaring signs," she urges on the title track).

If Evolution ends up being Crow's actual last album, she'd certainly be going out in signature style. It's a culmination of what's made her music so timeless: unabashed honesty, soulful musicality, and unbridled joy. sat down with Crow to discuss her unexpected album, her "liberating" new creative process, and major moments that have made her career feel like a fairy tale.

After declaring that you wouldn't make any more albums, how did creating Evolution change your perspective on the rest of your career? Do you think you'll go back to making albums?

Well, this was not like any experience I have ever had. I've never made a record where I wasn't there for it. I mean, I was there, but when I typically make a record, everything starts and ends with me. 

This was me sending a guitar vocal to this incredible producer, Mike Elizondo, who basically was like Martin Scorsese. He would take my little screenplay and just build this cinematic landscape around it. I've never had that experience where I walk in and hear myself in the context of something I've never heard before. And it was really a beautiful experience. 

Once I got over the fact that I'm not playing everything — once you check your ego and go, Wait a minute, this is exactly what you wanted. You wanted your stories, your thoughts to be built on — it made it so different than any process I've ever experienced. 

Will I go back and make records the way I used to? I don't know. I'm going to quit saying I'm never gonna do an album again, because I don't know. [Laughs.]

You've said that this is kind of a diary turned into an album. You can actually feel that in some of the songs. I can envision you sitting down and just spilling your heart out, and then it turning into a song.

I've never made a record where I just wrote the song and then let it go, and then it came back to me. It was a really colossal gift that I gave myself, to let go of it and be okay with what came back to me. 

Luckily, there was no disappointment in what came back, because I know Mike Elizondo so well — like, for 20 years. And the interesting thing about this process is the whole thing came together over one song that we put on the record [last]. 

It's called "Digging In The Dirt," it's a Peter Gabriel cover. It's on the deluxe [version of Evolution]. I called Mike, I said, "I have been really soul searching. I've done a guided mushroom tour. I am really trying to navigate how I'm feeling about this moment in our humanity, and I want to do this song 'Digging In The Dirt,' would you produce it?" He said yes. 

We sent it to Peter, and quite a long time went by, and [when we] got it back, he'd put himself on it. Then, it was like, Okay, we have an album.

I imagine that you probably weren't thinking he would put himself on the cover.

I wasn't. We sent it to him and he really liked it. And I said, "If, you know… no pressure!" 

Of course, it's a compliment. But I think his work is pretty emblematic of what this record is about: Digging deep and taking no prisoners, calling out what you see, trying to figure out a way to get back to [your] authentic self — which is what every human being at some moment in their life will struggle with.

I feel like you've always been pretty outspoken in your music — not in an abrasive way, but just in a way that you're very assured of the message you're spreading.

I hope so. It's a weird thing to be now — because when you think about music before MTV and VH1, like before videos, you'd write a song and there was no image that was attached to it. Then MTV and VH1 [come along, and] suddenly you're writing little stories [for visuals], and that gets in somebody's head. Like, I can listen to Madonna song, and instead of what I experienced, I remember the video.

Now, you put out songs, and there's so much branding and social media that you're attached to before you ever hear the song, that it taints what your songs are about, you know? And it can also make you [think], I would never listen to her because she's a liberal

It's like we're programmed to decide if we could like somebody's song based on how we feel about that person. It's different than it used to be. All that to say, there's nothing that can stop me from writing, because it's the thing that I know how to do. It's a salve for me.

I saw an interview with the Guardian where you answered fan questions, and someone asked about how your creative process evolved. And you were basically like, "I don't know who's listening anymore, and I don't really care who's listening. So I'm just gonna say what I feel." Do you feel more creatively liberated than you ever have?

I do. I mean, there were many periods during the process of making the albums in the early days where I would sit and listen to the body of work and go, I gotta write something that could maybe get played at radio. There's none of that anymore. Because radio is based on streams, and streams is based on social media and TikTok, and all that stuff. And also, being my age, I can't even hope to be played anyway. So it is liberating.

That's not to say that it's not frustrating. It is frustrating to feel like you're writing some of your best work and [have to ask] Will anybody hear it? But I had to stay out of the outcome, just like I've always done, and be into the process. And that's where I continue to find my joy.

You've been able to celebrate a lot of success before the streaming era took over. This year actually marks 30 years since "All I Wanna Do," hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, which started a very epic run for you, including your first GRAMMY wins. What do you remember from that time?

When I reflect on that night, I think I was not equipped to hold all that. In fact, it's funny, I look at what I wore, and it was very not designer. I just was a country bumpkin. [Laughs.]

We had already toured for, like, a year, and nothing had really — I mean, it was just starting to pick up, and then "All I Wanna Do" came out, and it exploded. And then I was nominated for GRAMMYs, and won the GRAMMYs, and then the next day, we played in San Francisco like it never even happened. 

It took a little time — in fact, the better part of that year — to realize that, at that time, the GRAMMYs, which was the one night of the year that everyone tuned into, that winning a GRAMMY could change the trajectory of your career. Just from the GRAMMYs, and that visibility, my record sales expanded exponentially. It was just over the top. 

It was a whirlwind. And what looked like, to most people, as being an overnight success, to me, being a 30-year-old, I felt like I'd worked my whole life — I studied piano, I taught school. I had a whole life before I ever made it. 

It was a bizarre time. And obviously, there's no guidebook for how to become famous and how to navigate that. So I just tried to really stay in my lane, and I didn't really enjoy it as much as I could have enjoyed it. I wish now I could go back and say, "You need to enjoy it more! Be a rock star!" [Laughs.]

You were just inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame and you've hung out with — and recorded with — Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. I would say that puts you in the ranks of a rock star!

I've been so dang lucky. And that was an amazing thing. I grew up in the middle of farmland, in a town with three stoplights. And my parents were like, "You work hard and you're a good person, good things will happen." 

You just don't really know what life can be like. As you get older, you realize that the stories we tell ourselves [when we're younger] about what [life] can be can be very limiting,

In my particular instance, I could not have envisioned knowing these massive heroes that I got to brush up against, and I got to learn from. I think there's not an award on the planet that could measure knowing some of these people. 

I mean, even singing with Willie Nelson, for as long as we've sung together is — the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame [performance with him] was just icing on the cake. To be in a "club" — as my dad calls it — with the people that wrote the book on it is just very humbling.

I read that you didn't even want to record "All I Wanna Do" at first. Is there a song you've never gotten sick of playing?

After two years of touring that record, I was so sick of ["All I Wanna Do"]. Now, of course, I play it with absolute and total gratitude, because it's taken me to St. Petersburg, to Tokyo, to Bogota, to Tel Aviv. That song has literally taken me all over the world, and I've watched people who don't speak English sing the many thousands of words in that song. 

There is one song that I love every time I play it, and when it comes on the radio, I don't turn it off. It's "My Favorite Mistake." The original intent of it, the experience of writing it, the feel of the song. It feels like the best song in my catalog.

That's a big statement! You don't see artists making that statement a lot, because they're like, "Oh, I can't pick one, they're all like my children!" 

"My Favorite Mistake" is my favorite child. There, I'll say it.

It's amazing to have a piece of work like that, right? I can imagine that you have so many songs you're proud of, but it's very cool to have a song, no matter what it meant to other people, for it to feel so special to you.

It is. You hear that woo-woo statement of "I was just a vessel." I've had a few of those songs where I go, "Okay, that's weird. I don't know how I wrote that song top to bottom." There are those songs, and I do look at that and go, "Okay, there is some divinity in that." 

Because we learn really early on how to craft a good song — what the form of a good song is, how to build interest in it, how to make it exciting, how to hold the listener. All kinds of crafting tricks. But on the odd occasion you get, like, a "Redemption Day," which you go, "I don't know how I wrote that song, because that's not even how I write," and 15 years later, Johnny Cash records it. 

There are those songs where you think you just got to be in the room for it. "My Favorite Mistake" was a little bit like that. It was so effortless. Most of the lyrics I sang onto the mic as I was playing it on bass, writing it with Jeff [Trott, Crow's frequent collaborator]. 

It just fell together, and it felt so authentic to how gutted I was over my relationship falling apart. And I think sometimes that is what makes a song universal — it's the emotion we all experience no matter what the experience looks like. 

That can very much apply to Evolution as well — in a very different way than "My Favorite Mistake," but there's a lot of relatable sentiments on this album. 

I think as a mom, as a person who's raising two young people, a lot of what I'm asking myself — and what I'm witnessing, which causes me to scratch my head — I don't know what to do with it. And you can't really engage anymore in narrative conversation where people share ideas, and try to come up with solutions, and make compromises. Because we are now being, I guess, in some ways, programmed to not do that, you know? To not give in to the other side because it might be a show of weakness.

My safe haven is to write songs, and this process was really that. And I can safely say, without ego, I love the way that it turned out, and that is because I did not produce it. It's just my songs and a great movie around them.

So your biggest takeaway from this album is that you should stop producing your own work…

My biggest takeaway is I should just sit and write little songs and then fire them off to a producer.

You know, that's what they're there for, right?

Exactly! That's why we pay you, anyway! [Laughs.]

You're such a statement-based artist and you've always stuck to your guns. What are some things that you look back on and you're like, Man, that is exactly what I set out to do?

Oh my gosh, I have so many that now I allow myself to feel proud of. I think it's our knee-jerk to not ever give ourselves a minute of homage. 

I got to sing with Pavarotti. I got to sing a piece by Mozart in front of my mom and dad in Modena Italy for War Child. The look on my parents' faces will never leave me, ever. My parents are musicians. I don't think they could have envisioned their little girl, like, singing legitimate music, after the years of piano lessons and getting my degree in voice and piano. 

To see me up there singing Mozart with Pavarotti, and then getting to play my own music with Eric Clapton backing me [at the same event], that one moment was a personal highlight for sure.

I've had some incredible experiences — getting to sing with, like you said, Dylan, and getting to walk out on stage with the Rolling Stones and strut around and be a rock star. But doesn't it all come back to your parents, ultimately? I will never forget the emotional looks on their faces. And I will carry that with me forever. 

Well, especially, like you've been talking about, coming out of such a small town. What you've accomplished is so rare, especially coming from a place with three stoplights.

To bring your parents all the way to Italy! They'd never been out of the country and [I had to say] "Okay, you guys are gonna have to get a passport. You're gonna drive an hour and a half to the airport in Memphis, Tennessee. You're gonna fly all the way across the world." 

You know, those are the things that fairy tales are made of. And I would say that my life has been a fairy tale.

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Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon performing in 2023

Photo: Jason Squires/FilmMagic


5 Songs To Get Into Kim Gordon's Solo Work, From "Change My Brain" To "I'm A Man"

An ocean of ink has been spilled about Sonic Youth's indomitable legacy, which includes a bounty of Kim Gordon songs. With her new solo album, 'The Collective,' out in the world, press play on five great songs from her post-Sonic Youth discography.

GRAMMYs/Mar 14, 2024 - 02:11 pm

The Beastie Boys' Ad-Rock once offered a brilliant observation of Kim Gordon. "Wherever Kim ends up, she is the coolest person in the room," he told The New Yorker in 2013. "But I know her, and I know she'd rather be at home grilling hot dogs."

How much more succinctly could one put it? Since Sonic Youth tortured their first Jazzmaster, Gordon has radiated mysterious cerebral, enveloping art, while never coming across as an arteest.

Gordon's vital contributions to the band, from "'Cross the Breeze" to "Bull in the Heather" and beyond — coupled with cool you could cut with a knife — cemented her as an alternative icon.

So much so, that when she and romantic and creative partner Thurston Moore split in 2013 — which took Sonic Youth down with them — Gordon arguably won the public in the divorce.

The four members of Sonic Youth have remained active with various projects, and Gordon's have been some of the most enticing. She hit the ground running with Body/Head, a collaboration with guitarist Bill Nace — and formed another duo, Glitterbust, with fellow axeman Alex Knost.

Gordon has also released two solo albums — and the last one, especially, is turning heads. The Collective, which dropped March 8 via Matador, is like a T-bone between rap production and the shattering noise she's made her own.

As you absorb this sui generis piece of art — from opener "BYE BYE" to closer "Dream Dollar" — take a spin through five songs that act as entryways to Gordon's solo years.

"Change My Brain" (Body/Head's The Switch, 2018)

At its best, Gordon's noise is tactile, overwhelming; it's like big muscles. "Change My Brain," from Body/Head's 2018 album The Switch, is a glorious, 10-minute thicket of fuzz, with a rounded and iridescent center that undulates like a glow worm.

"Air Bnb" (No Home Record, 2019)

The top comment on the official "Air Bnb" music video is genius: "This is the best video I've ever read." It consists of a black screen, explaining that the funding just wasn't there for Gordon to crawl and cavort through a mid-century modern  rental. Instead, the video describes all the details as Gordon sings about the Air BnB that "could set me free."

But the throttling music is a mindmovie on its own: whatever's in your head is more unsettling than what Gordon and her collaborators would have come up with.

"Murdered Out" (No Home Record, 2019)

In a press statement, Gordon evocatively explained her No Home Record banger "Murdered Out."

"When I moved back to L.A., I noticed more and more cars painted with black matte spray, tinted windows, blackened logos, and black wheels," she said, considering all its cultural implications: "Like an option on a voting ballot, 'none of the above.'"

Like the foreboding whips of its namesake, "Murdered Out" is unforgiving, ominous, devoid of light. It's also utterly gripping; turn it up loud.

"BYE BYE" (The Collective, 2024)

As usual, YouTube randos sum it up better than any music writer could. "This is the hardest shopping list I've ever heard," one writes. Another: "I'm not even surprised that it's 2024 and Kim Gordon has the sickest beats in the game."

Over a serrated trap beat, Gordon relates her itinerary: purchase a suitcase, drop pants at cleaner, call the vet, call the groomer. The final item? "Vibrator, teaser, bye bye, bye bye, bye bye."

"I'm a Man" (The Collective, 2024)

Gender-flipping's been a thing since the dawn of rock 'n' roll, and it's been baked into indie from its inception. But only a select few can make it so funny.

"So what if I like the big truck? / Giddy up, giddy up!" Gordon crows, as if she's instructed ChatGPT to approximate dummy masculinity. "Don't make me have to hide/ Or explain/ What I am inside." Checkmate to the XY-chromosomed: as usual, Gordon has the last laugh.

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Sheryl Crow, Deryck Whibley, Tierra Whack, Justin Timberlake, Schoolboy Q, Kasey Musgraves, Kim Gordon, Tyla, Beyoncé, Dua Lipa
(Clockwise) Sheryl Crow, Deryck Whibley, Tierra Whack, Justin Timberlake, Schoolboy Q, Kasey Musgraves, Kim Gordon, Tyla, Beyoncé, Dua Lipa

Photos: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic; RICHARD THIGPEN; Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for WIRED; Owen Schatz; Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images; KELLY CHRISTINE SUTTON; Jason Squires/FilmMagic; JASON ARMOND / LOS ANGELES TIMES VIA GETTY IMAGES; KEVIN MAZUR/GETTY IMAGES FOR THE RECORDING ACADEMY; Araya Doheny/FilmMagic


15 Must-Hear Albums In March 2024: Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Shakira & More

From the debuts of Tyla and rapper Tierra Whack, to a new salvo from Kim Gordon, women dominate the list of releases for March. While it may be Women's History Month, there are a few major releases from male artists, including Justin Timberlake.

GRAMMYs/Mar 1, 2024 - 04:02 pm

March is Women’s History Month, and women in music are more powerful than ever. 

The month begins with the comeback of several queens, starting with Kim Gordon’s The Collective and Ariana Grande’s Eternal Sunshine. Later, country darling Kacey Musgraves will unveil Deeper Well, and Shakira will drop the empowering Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran. Long-awaited debuts by GRAMMY-winning singer Tyla and singer/bassist Blu DeTiger will also join the lineup, with their respective Tyla and All I Ever Want Is Everything. Wrapping up March on a high note, Beyoncé will drop her highly-anticipated Act II on the 29th.

Men will release music in March as well: Expect new releases by Justin Timberlake, Bleachers, the last record from pop-punk band Sum 41, and (allegedly) Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign’s Vultures 2.

To make the most of this prolific time, compiled all the must-hear albums dropping March 2024.

Schoolboy Q - Blue Lips

Release date: March 1

On Feb. 1, Schoolboy Q’s website was updated with a mysterious countdown and a 37-second video. In it, the rapper finally unveiled the setlist and title of his much-awaited sixth studio album, Blue Lips, as well as its release date — March 1.

Blue Lips is Q’s first full record since 2019’s Crash Talk, although he had been teasing the album since 2020. Hopefully, it was worth the wait: Blue Lips holds 18 tracks and participations by Rico Nasty, Freddie Gibbs, and more. Q has also started a new vlog series on social media called "wHy not?," where he takes the viewers behind the scenes of making the album and previews snippets of the songs.

So far, the rapper shared tracks "Blueslides," "Back n Love" with Devin Malik, "Cooties" and "Love Birds" with Devin Malik and Lance Skiiwalker, as well as lead single "Yeern 101."

Bleachers - Bleachers

Release date: March 8

Fronted by 10-time GRAMMY winner and 2024 Producer Of The Year Jack Antonoff, rock band Bleachers will release its eponymous fourth studio album on March 8.

In a press release, Bleachers is described as Antonoff’s "distinctly New Jersey take on the bizarre sensory contradictions of modern life." The self-titled record will blend sadness and joy into "music for driving on the highway to, for crying to and for dancing to at weddings."

The band shared four singles so far: lead track "Modern Girl," "Alma Mater" featuring Lana del Rey, "Tiny Moves" and "Me Before You." Through serendipitous melodies and soulful writing, Bleachers commit to "exist in crazy times but remember what counts." 

Bleachers will tour the U.K. in March and the U.S. in May and June.

Kim Gordon - The Collective

Release date: March 8

Former Sonic Youth vocalist Kim Gordon will release her sophomore LP, The Collective, on March 8. The album is a follow-up to her 2019 debut No Home Record, and furthers her collaboration with producer Justin Raisen, as well as additional producing from Anthony Paul Lopez.

"On this record, I wanted to express the absolute craziness I feel around me right now," said Gordon in a press statement. "This is a moment when nobody really knows what truth is, when facts don’t necessarily sway people, when everyone has their own side, creating a general sense of paranoia. To soothe, to dream, escape with drugs, TV shows, shopping, the internet, everything is easy, smooth, convenient, branded. It made me want to disrupt, to follow something unknown, maybe even to fail."

Back in January, the singer unveiled the album’s moody first single, "Bye Bye," and a music video starring her daughter, Coco Gordon Moore. The second single, "I’m A Man," came out in February. Gordon will play six concerts in support of The Collective, starting March 21 in Burlington, Vermont.

Ariana Grande - Eternal Sunshine

Release date: March 8

It’s been almost four years since Ariana Grande’s last studio album, 2020’s Positions. The starlet spent the past few years filming Wicked, an adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name, and declared that she wouldn’t be releasing any new records until it was done.

The wait is finally over, as Grande announced her seventh studio album, Eternal Sunshine. The album’s first and only single, "Yes, And?," dropped in January, followed by an Instagram video of the soprano singer explaining the concept of the album to her Republic Records team. 

"It’s kind of a concept album ’cause it’s all different heightened pieces of the same story, of the same experience," she said. "Some of [the songs] are really vulnerable, some of them are like playing the part of what people kind of expect me to be sometimes and having fun with it."

"I think this one may be your favorite," Grande wrote of Eternal Sunshine on her Instagram Story. "It is mine." The 13-song collection will reportedly explore house and R&B, and will have only one feature: Grande’s grandmother, who appears on the last track, "Ordinary Things."

Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign -Vultures 2

Release date: March 8

After a series of delays, Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign’s first collaborative album, Vultures 1, ultimately dropped on Feb. 10, 2024. Set to be the first installment of a trilogy, the album was released independently through West’s YZY label, and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, with all of its 16 tracks also charting on Billboard’s Hot 100.

Billed as ¥$, the duo plans to release Vultures 2 on March 8, and follow up with Vultures 3 on April 5. Although any other info about the upcoming volumes is still unclear, Timbaland recently shared on X (formerly Twitter) that Vultures 2 is "OTW." (Timbaland produced Vultures 1’s "Keys to My Life" and "Fuk Sumn" with Playboi Carti and Travis Scott.)

In the past month, West and $ign held a few listening parties for the album in the U.S. and Europe, but additional schedules are yet to be revealed.

The Jesus and Mary Chain - Glasgow Eyes

Release date: March 8

To celebrate their 40th anniversary, alt-rock band the Jesus and Mary Chain will release their eighth studio album, Glasgow Eyes, on March 8.

As it can be seen on lead single "Jamcod," the Scottish group still runs strong on the distorted synths and electrifying guitars that shaped their sound. "People should expect a Jesus and Mary Chain record, and that’s certainly what Glasgow Eyes is," vocalist Jim Reid said in a statement. "Our creative approach is remarkably the same as it was in 1984, just hit the studio and see what happens. We went in with a bunch of songs and let it take its course. There are no rules, you just do whatever it takes."

Glasgow Eyes also mends a six-year gap since the Jesus and Mary Chain’s latest album, 2017’s Damage and Joy. To further commemorate, the band will also release an autobiography and embark on a European tour throughout March and April.

Justin Timberlake - Everything I Thought It Was

Release date: March 15

Justin Timberlake is back with his first studio album since 2018’s Man of the Woods. The new record, Everything I Thought It Was,  is spearheaded by singles "Selfish" and "Drown."

"I worked for a long time on this album, and I ended up with 100 songs. So, narrowing them down to 18 was a thing," said Timberlake in an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1. "I’m really excited about this album. I think every artist probably says this, but it is my best work." The Memphis singer also shared that there are "incredibly honest" moments in the album, but also "a lot of f—ng fun."

To celebrate his return, Timberlake announced his Forget Tomorrow World Tour. Set to kick off on April 29 in Vancouver, the tour will cross through North America and Europe until its final date on Dec. 16 in Indianapolis.

Kacey Musgraves - Deeper Well

Release date: March 15

Fresh off winning Best Country Duo/Group Performance at the 2024 GRAMMYs for the Zach Bryan duet "I Remember Everything," Kacey Musgraves announced her fifth studio album, Deeper Well..

"My Saturn has returned/ When I turned 27/ Everything started to change," she sings in the contemplative title track, exploring how she changed over the last few years. The single sets the tone for the rest of the record, which was co-produced by longtime collaborators Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian

Featuring 14 tracks, Deeper Well was mostly recorded at the legendary Electric Lady studios in New York City. "I was seeking some different environmental energy, and Electric Lady has the best mojo. Great ghosts," the country star noted in a press release.

On social media, Musgraves wrote: "it’s a collection of songs I hold very dear to my heart. I hope it makes a home in all of your hearts, too." Deeper Well follows 2021’s star-crossed

Tierra Whack - World Wide Whack

Release date: March 15

When rapper Tierra Whack released her first album, 2018’s Whack World, she quickly garnered the admiration of both critics and fans. Comprising 15 one-minute tracks and music videos for each, the release was a refreshing introduction to a groundbreaking artist.

In 2024, the Philadelphia-born star is preparing to release World Wide Whack, labeled her official debut album in a press release. The cover artwork, created by Alex Da Corte, was inspired by theater character Pierrot, fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli and Donna Summer, and represents "the first reveal of the World Wide Whack character, an alter ego both untouchable and vulnerable, superhuman and painfully human, whose surprising story will unfold in images and video over the course of the album’s visual rollout."

The album follows Whack’s 2021 EP trilogy — Rap?, Pop? and R&B? — and is foreshadowed by the poignant "27 Club" and the eccentric "Shower Song."

Tyla - Tyla

Release date: March 22

After a glowing 2023 with viral hit "Water," South African newcomer Tyla started 2024 with a blast. Last month, she became the first person to win a GRAMMY for Best African Music Performance, and the youngest-ever African singer to win a GRAMMY Award at 22 years old.

Next month is poised to be even better: Tyla’s eponymous debut LP drops on March 22, featuring "Water" and other hits like  "Truth or Dare," "Butterflies" and "On and On," as well as a guest appearance by labelmate Travis Scott.

"African music is going global and I’m so blessed to be one of the artists pushing the culture," Tyla shared on Instagram. Her unique blend of amapiano, pop and R&B is making waves around the world, and the star will rightfully celebrate by touring Europe and North America throughout this spring.

Shakira - Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran

Release date: March 22

The title of Shakira’s new album, Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran, is a nod to her 2023 hit "Shakira: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53" with Argentine DJ Bizarrap. In the lyrics, she states that "las mujeres ya no lloran, las mujeres facturan" — "women don’t cry anymore, they make money."

The single is a diss to Shakira’s ex-partner, footballer Gerard Piqué, and, like the rest of the record, served as a healing experience after their separation. "Making this body of work has been an alchemical process," the Colombian star said in a statement. "While writing each song I was rebuilding myself. While singing them, my tears transformed into diamonds, and my vulnerability into strength."

Las Mujeres will feature 16 songs, including her Bizarrap collaboration and singles "Te Felicito" with Rauw Alejandro, "Copa Vacía" with Manuel Turizo, "Acróstico," "Monotonía" with Ozuna, "El Jefe" with Mexican band Fuerza Regida, and "TQG" with fellow Colombian Karol G.

Sheryl Crow - Evolution

Release date: March 29

Back in 2018, Sheryl Crow said that the LP Threads would be her last — fortunately, she changed her mind. "I said I’d never make another record, though there was no point to it," the singer shared in a statement about her upcoming album, Evolution. "This music comes from my soul. And I hope whoever hears this record can feel that."

According to the same statement, "Evolution is Sheryl Crow at her most authentically human self," and its music and lyrics "came from sitting in the quiet and writing from a deep soul place." 

The entire album was written in a month, starting with the title track, which expresses Crow’s anxieties about artificial intelligence and the future of humans. From then on, Crow and producer Mike Elizondo found bliss. "The songs just kept flowing out of me, four songs turned into nine and it was pretty obvious this was an album," she said.

In addition to the album's title track, Crow also shared singles "Do It Again" and "Alarm Clock."

Sum 41 - Heaven :x: Hell

Release date: March 29

After nearly three decades together, punk-metal mavericks Sum 41 are parting ways. Their final release will be a double album. Heaven :x: Hell, set to drop on March 29.

Heaven is composed of 10 pop-punk tracks reminiscent of the band’s early years, while Hell is 10 tracks of pure heavy metal, reflecting the direction they took more recently. "Once I heard the music, I was confident enough to say, ‘This is the record I’d like to go out on,'" frontman Deryck Whibley said in a statement. "We’ve made a double album of pop punk and metal, and it makes sense. It took a long time for us to pave this lane for ourselves, but we did, and it’s unique to us."

The band shared singles "Landmines," "Rise Up" and "Waiting on a Twist of Fate," and proved that they’re leaving on top of their game. "I love Sum 41, what we’ve achieved, endured, and stuck together through, which is why I want to call it quits," Whibley added. "It’s the right time to walk away from it. I’m putting all of my energy into what’s ahead."

But before embarking on new ventures, Sum 41 will spend the rest of the year touring throughout Asia, North America, and Europe.

Blu DeTiger - All I Ever Want Is Everything

Release date: March 29

At only 26 years old, Blu DeTiger has already toured with Caroline Polachek, played bass for Jack Antonoff’s band Bleachers, partnered with Fender, and appeared on the 2023 Forbes 30 Under 30’s music list.

Now, she prepares to release her debut studio album, All I Ever Want Is Everything. "This album is about growing and becoming, settling into yourself and learning to love where you’re at through it all. It’s about learning how to be your own best friend," the bassist and singer wrote on Instagram.

"Dangerous Game," the lead single off the album, showcases DeTiger’s effervescent energy and potential for pop stardom. Starting April, she will also headline a U.S. tour across Boston, Washington D.C., New York, Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Beyoncé - Act II

Release date: March 29

What better event to announce a new album than the most-watched TV program ever? That’s what Beyoncé did during Super Bowl LVIII, on Feb. 11. At the end of a Verizon commercial, the singer declared "Okay, they ready. Drop the new music," while simultaneously releasing Act II’s lead singles, "16 Carriages" and "Texas Hold 'Em," on social media and streaming platforms.

Coming out March 29, Act II is the second part of Beyoncé’s ongoing trilogy, which was written and recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic. The album is preceded by 2022’s acclaimed Act I: Renaissance, but instead of house and disco, the singer will reportedly take a deep dive into country music.

This isn’t Queen Bey’s first foray into the genre — in 2016, she released Lemonade’s "Daddy Lessons," and her 2021 IVY PARK Rodeo collection was inspired by "the overlooked history of the American Black cowboy," as she told Harper’s Bazaar. It was just a question of time for Beyoncé to enter her country era, and it is finally upon us.

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