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JEWEL Spirit (1998 US 13-track CD album including Deep Water Hands Down So Long and Jupiter picture sleeve 82950-2)
It's time for an update of our image of Jewel, the ingenue who set the music world on fire with her 1995 debut album, Pieces of You. After all, that effort consisted primarily of songs Jewel had written several years before, some of them dating back to her days as a free- spirited waif living in a van on the beach in San Diego. Now, at 25, she's become a sort of guru for self-expression and full disclosure, revealing perhaps too much of herself in see-through dresses worn to awards shows and a critically drubbed (yet bestselling) book of poetry. Spirit makes plain why Jewel's well-intentioned yet sometimes facile lyrics strike a chord with her audience while her poetry lies flat on the page. On songs like "Deep Water", "Hands", and "Down So Long", her words are borne aloft by sparkling melodies and her soaring voice, making even the most cynical observer take a schoolgirl-notebook image such as "your heart like grape gum on the ground" or an unreassuring platitude like "If I could tell the world just one thing / It would be that we're all OK" somewhat in stride. On Pieces of You, Jewel posed the musical question "Who will save your soul?" On Spirit, it sounds like she wants to do it herself. And the truth is, if you don't overanalyse it, the album does act as a sort of balm for wounded psyches or maybe a primer for raising your own inner child. Maybe she's right and we are all OK. Who knew? --Daniel Durchholz
Top customer reviews
This album is beautiful in every respect. The rhythms are infectious, the musical performances skilled and superbly controlled. It is a sensitive production in harmony with Jewel, and this is one of her few albums where everything comes together exceptionally well.
Spirit washes over you, and won't fail to relax you after a long hard day. Jewel's thoughtful, romantic and selfless personality shines in these recordings. They contain gorgeous little melodies and simple memorable harmonies that you'll be humming for days afterwards.
However, although this album is outstanding when compared to the competition, Jewel has lost some of the simplicity and magic she possessed in her 1994 debut Pieces of You. She once had the power to move you to tears almost every song, but in Spirit she is a little kinder on your emotions, and only gives you a lump in your throat on a couple of occasions. But nonetheless, this is beautiful music, and I love it very much. The world would be a sorrier place without her.
'And lend your voices only to sounds of freedom.
No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from.
Fill your lives with love and bravery and you shall lead a life uncommon'
My advice is buy this album certainly, but not before you have listened to 'Pieces Of You', which will give you a much better introduction to Jewels music and a much clearer idea of her progression as an artist.
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