Sheryl Crow – A Change Would Do You Good

I’ve been a Sheryl Crow fan since I heard her first songs. The lyrics she writes with Jeff Trott are different than the usual pop song. Many of their songs are abstract which I like.

Crow wrote this with guitarist Jeff Trott and drummer Brian MacLeod during a six-month stay in New Orleans. The song shows an array of images to highlight what needs changing in someone’s life.

This song peaked at #1 in the Billboard US Adult Alternative Songs, #8 in the UK, and #2 in Canada in 1997.

If you want to check out something new Sheryl has done…check out this piece from Christian from christiansmusicmusings about Sheryl and Citizen Cope covering a Bill Withers song. A very good version of Lonely Town, Lonely Street.

In this song, she takes a gentle swipe at the Material Girl who inspired this verse…and a few others with:

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

Jeff Trott: I don’t know how we were talking about Madonna, but the second verse of “A Change Would Do You Good” was directed at Madonna. “You wear your fake fur on the inside.” It’s been awhile. I can’t think of all the lyrics. But one of them was “Mercedes Ruehl and a rented Lear.”

“We were trying to come up with something like the Staple Singers. Mavis Staples is one of those legendary soul singer/songwriters, and Sheryl and I have this affinity for those old soul songs, Motown, stuff like that. We’re always trying to find those rare, rare songs for inspiration.”

Songfacts

The trio came up with so many lyric ideas that they decided to throw them all in a hat and draw them out, leading to a string of non-sequiturs that tie the song together. Trott said: “Sheryl just picked them out randomly and put them on a piece of paper, and we all read them. We all thought, ‘Whoa, this actually makes sense, even though it’s so oblique and completely abstract.’ So, we put this thing together and tried to keep the order pretty close, just swapping a couple of the lines to make more sense.”

So, a change would do who good? According to Trott, the first verse is about producer Bill Bottrell, who walked out on the making of the album. While the lyrics are biting, Trott says it was all in fun. “She had a little bit of resentment towards him, but not in a harsh way, but in a playful kind of way.”

He’s a platinum canary, drinkin’ Falstaff beer
Mercedes Ruehl, and a rented Lear
Bottom feeder insincere
Prophet lo-fi pioneer

The above lyrics are often misquoted, but Trott confirmed they indeed reference Mercedes Ruehl. The Academy Award-winning actress also starred in the 1999 thriller The Minus Man, in which Crow made her debut film appearance.

After some convincing, Crow agreed to make the last verse about herself:

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

Three music videos were made. The first, a black-and-white clip directed by Crow and Lance Acord, shows the singer both performing out on the street and tossing her belongings out of a window in the background.

The star-studded second video, directed by Michel Gondry, has Crow magically manipulating characters’ lives, loosely inspired by the classic sitcom Bewitched. Cameos include Mary Lynn Rajskub, Heather Matarazzo, Jeff Garlin, Ellen DeGeneres, Molly Shannon, Andy Dick and Toby Huss.

The third video consists of footage from a live VH1 performance.

This was covered by Dean Geyer and Lea Michele on the 2012 Glee episode “Makeover.”

A Change Would Do You Good

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 leer.

Bottom feeder insincere,
High fed low fat pioneer,
Sell the house and go to school.
Pretty young girlfriend, daddy’s jewel.

A change,
(A change would do you good)
Would do you good,
(A change would do you good)
I think a change,
(A change would do you good)
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,
Dinners at six, wear your cement shoes,
I thought you were singing your heart out to me,
Your lips were singing and now I see.

A change,
(A change would do you good)
Would do you good,
(A change would do you good)
I think a change,
(A change would do you good)
Would do you good.
(A change would do you good)

A change,
(A change would do you good)
Would do you good,
(A change would do you good)
I think a change,
(A change would do you good)
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,
(A change would do you good)
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,
(A change would do you good)
Would do you good,
(A change would do you good)
I think a change,
(A change would do you good)
Would do you good.
(A change would do you good)

 

 

 

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

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

13 thoughts on “Sheryl Crow – A Change Would Do You Good”

  1. Thanks for the shout-out. I’m with you regarding Sheryl who I think is great. One of my favorites is another tune from that album: “If It Makes You Happy”

    BTW, have you checked out what sadly appears to be her final full-length studio album, “Threads”? If it actually is and going forward she sticks with releasing an occasional single, she surely went out on a high note!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like that one also.

      No I didn’t hear about that being her last. I will have to check it out. I wonder if it’s because of no interest or it’s just so hard to get played now for older artists?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The main reason she stated at the time was that music consumption habits have changed, and that most folks no longer listen to albums. Instead, they do playlists that include songs from different artists. I previously posted about this at https://christiansmusicmusings.wordpress.com/2019/08/30/sheryl-crow-goes-out-with-big-bang-on-final-full-length-studio-album/

        While it’s sad Sheryl essentially came to the conclusion that making an album is no longer worth it, I can understand where she is coming from. After all, she became famous during during a time pre-streaming when albums were still selling.

        Like

  2. another excellent single from Sheryl. I never paid much attention to the lyrics of that one (some of her songs are straight forward and paint a literal picture) so the fact that she just pulled lines out of a hat for it, literally, doesn’t surprise me… yet they work, and the chorus is inspirational

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like some of her stuff. I wore out her Globe Sessions album. She always struck me as being a female version of Springsteen, musically and in attitude. I’ll never forget her “one sheet of toilet paper” comment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did like the swipe at Madonna…I’m not a fan of Madonna…I forgot about the toilet paper comment….I guess she is doing well during this shortage lol.

      Like

      1. I can count on one hand how many Madonna songs I like. God, she is off the charts annoying.

        Now, Sheryl is REAL talent compared to Madonna. Madonna was iconic but, hardly a musician.

        Most Rock & Pop stars are subject to the left side of the political aisle. And, the thing about politics is, people JUST can’t keep it to themselves. The Country & Western stars tend to lean to the right side.

        Another downside to the business is being worshiped (and/or stalked) by fans. Blows up the ego, which blows up self importance.

        Check email…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You know I don’t like Madonna. I cannot help it…I wish she would unfurl her leather wings and fly away. She got way too much attention on shock value…plus Miss…NO EYE CONTACT…no way.

        Sheryl is real…not on a pedatstal. And…talking as a true pig…she is really a looker…not made up but natural and doesn’t act it.

        Yea I don’t like either side…either Madonna or Ted Nugent.

        Oh yea…Huge Egos…

        I have and I’m rolling dice…multi tasking

        I’m playing and commenting…talent!

        Like

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