Released along with Shawn Colvin's first greatest hits collection, the Polaroids video compilation is an added-value DVD that Colvin's fans will cherish. From her pixie charm in "Steady On" and "Diamond in the Rough" (both 1990) to the confident sass of "Get Out of This House" (1997), these varied and well-directed videos capture the Grammy-winning folk artist in the process of discovering her music-video identity. There's plenty of fashionable style in slick videos like "Round of Blues" (1992) and the timelessly gorgeous melancholy of 1993 "I Don't Know Why" (both Colvin's preferred original video, plus an alternate version she politely dismisses), but for the most part these video "polaroids" present Colvin unadorned, revealing her playful beauty, intelligent charm and deep wells of thoughtful emotion.
The "fire version" of "Sunny Came Home" (1997) was never aired on network TV (it was feared the images would encourage arsonists!), and Colvin probably wishes her video cover of The Police's "Every Little Thing (He) Does Is Magic" (1994) had also been banned, since she admits (in her engaging but all-too-brief commentaries) that the Tinkerbell-fairy theme was an obvious mistake. Still, there's ample compensation, including appearances by Mary Chapin Carpenter (on the lovely "One Cool Remove"), Bruce Hornsby, and Alison Krauss. Colvin's TV performances on Sessions at West 54th (1997) and Austin City Limits (March 15, 2001) are DVD highlights (Colvin's live performances are always a treasure), and a 30-minute video interview finds Colvin comfortably at home in Austin, Texas, with radio DJ Jody Denberg, whose fan-boy questions are just a bit too fawning. In light of Colvin's later revelation of her struggle with chronic depression, however, the interview adds yet another layer of complexity to a woman whose music, and videos, will surely enjoy lasting appeal. --Jeff Shannon
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