Sheryl Crow – Soak Up The Sun

I was reading Jeremy in Hong Kong’s post about Negative Visualisation which was really interesting. It made me think of a line in this song “It’s not having what you want
It’s wanting what you’ve got.” Check out the post if you can…

The song peaked at #15 in the Billboard 100, #24 in Canada, #19 in New Zealand, and #16 in the UK in 2002.

The song was on the C’mon, C’mon album that peaked at #2 in the Billbord Album Charts. During the Glastonbury Festival in June 2019, Sheryl Crow dedicated the song to Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

In the video, Sheryl Crow showed off more skin than she ever had before. She also posed provocatively for the cover of Stuff magazine around the time this was released. She said she did it to prove that women over the age of 40 could still be sexy.

Image result for stuff magazine sheryl crow

Songfacts

Crow’s co-writer, Jeff Trott, came up with the idea for this on a flight from Portland, Oregon, to New York. He told Songfacts: “I’m thinking this is really ironic that I’m leaving Portland being soaked in rain, and I’m actually going to New York to soak up some sun. I’m going to New York to soak up some sun. That’s got a ring to it. That’s kind of cool.

Then I started thinking about the sun, and I started thinking of these Beach Boys-style harmonies. On that five-hour flight, I had come up with the whole song completely in my head, not all the lyrics necessarily. I had a good chunk of the chorus of ‘Soak Up The Sun,’ but I had harmonies and everything all in my head, and I’m just having to scratch it down on a piece of paper.”

As Trott and Crow started working on the song together, they started talking about the then-recent Columbine shootings, where two students went on a killing spree at their high school before committing suicide.

“We kind of carried that over into the song as the voice of Sheryl as a young teenager with a lot of oddball friends who can’t really quite make out why people are the way they are,” Trott told us. “There’s a reference to ‘I’ve got my 45 on so I can rock on.’ The 45 on was like a kid with a gun, originally, and then we thought that’s a little scary.

We were talking about Columbine and we’re like okay I’ve got my 45 on, so I can rock on, like I can blast you guys. I’m going to blast all the people that are bugging me. That’s kind of where we were at with it, and then we said that’s just a little too… over the top.”

The video was part of a promotional deal with American Express. During the shoot, footage was also collected for an American Express commercial, which came out looking very similar to Crow’s video. American Express helped pay the production costs, hoping that viewers would remember their product every time they saw the video, since it looked so much like the commercial. MTV does not allow sponsors to pay for videos, but because the card never appeared in the video, they didn’t know about the deal and gave it plenty of airplay. Sting had a similar deal with Jaguar in his video for “Desert Rose.”

Crow had some high-profile help with the backing vocals on C’mon C’mon. Liz Phair sang backup on this track, and Stevie Nicks sang on the title track and “Diamond Road.” In 2001, Sheryl helped Stevie write and produce some of her album Trouble In Shangri-La.

This casual song about enjoying the simple things in life was very marketable for Crow, as it enjoyed success on pop radio and was a #1 on the Adult Top 40 chart.

Trott was shocked when he first saw the music video, which completely dulled the song’s edge and transformed it into a fun-in-the-sun surf song. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, Sheryl’s surfing. What the hell is that? It’s not even close to what it’s about.’

I think having Sheryl on a surfboard, being at the beach, is probably more palatable then having her in a trench coat shooting people in a lunch cafeteria. Not that I thought that that’s what the song was, but my impression from writing it was that it was much edgier than what came across. The video of course is like, hey, we’re having a holiday. We’re surfing. We’re catching some sun. Everything’s cool. Strum acoustic guitar. Like, wow! That’s not even close to what we thought it was about.”

Best Buy used this song in television commercials to pitch their electronic consumer goods, conveniently ignoring the song’s message of enjoying the simple things in life:

I don’t have digital
I don’t have diddly squat
It’s not having what you want
It’s wanting what you’ve got

Crow performed a kid-friendly version on Sesame Street in 2003, joining Elmo and the gang to sing about the adventures of the letter I in “I Soaks Up The Sun.”

Soak Up The Sun

My friend the communist
Holds meetings in his RV
I can’t afford his gas
So I’m stuck here watching tv

I don’t have digital
I don’t have diddly squat
It’s not having what you want
It’s wanting what you’ve got

I’m gonna soak up the sun
I’m gonna tell everyone
To lighten up, I’m gonna tell ’em that
I’ve got no one to blame
For every time I feel lame
I’m looking up

I’m gonna soak up the sun
I’m gonna soak up the sun

I’ve got a crummy job
It don’t pay near enough
To buy the things it takes
To win me some of your love

Every time I turn around
I’m looking up, you’re looking down
Maybe something’s wrong with you
That makes you act the way you do

I’m gonna soak up the sun
I’m gonna tell everyone
To lighten up, I’m gonna tell ’em that
I’ve got no one to blame
For every time I feel lame
I’m looking up

I’m gonna soak up the sun
While it’s still free
I’m gonna soak up the sun
Before it goes out on me

Don’t have no master suite
But I’m still the king of me
You have a fancy ride, but baby
I’m the one who has the key

Every time I turn around
I’m looking up, you’re looking down
Maybe something’s wrong with you
That makes you act the way you do
Maybe I am crazy too

I’m gonna soak up the sun
I’m gonna tell everyone
To lighten up, I’m gonna tell ’em that
I’ve got no one to blame
For every time I feel lame
I’m looking up

I’m gonna soak up the sun
Got my 45 on
So I can rock on

Author: badfinger20

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

7 thoughts on “Sheryl Crow – Soak Up The Sun”

  1. A little overplayed on radio these days but still, a very good song like most of Sheryl’s singles. That line you mention “it’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you have” always stuck out to me- pretty good basis to a philosophy that will work in life!
    I think I had that magazine… likely for the reviews I expect, LOL

    Liked by 1 person

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