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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
51
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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VINE VOICEon 27 February 2005
We can't pin Jem down!
I read the few Amazon.co.uk reviews of 'Finally Woken', and then the eighty or so reviews on Amazon.com before, although really being little the wiser, buying the album anyway. In the meantime I had heard 'They' a couple of times on the radio - I had read all about the Dido comparisons and thought that they seemed at best tenuous based on this track. Having now listened to the album many times through, I now see the problem. Jem is difficult to pigeonhole, and that can only be a good thing. If I had to nominate the most Dido-like track - and I'm a big fan of Dido - it would have to be the title track 'Finally Woken'. The rest of the album is very varied, but Jem's voice is great throughout and the wealth of influences so wonderfully eclectic. I currently love the rock guitars and strings of '24', while the closing track 'flying high' is very close to modern acoustic folk, but dance sensibilities also form an insidious part of the mix on many tracks.
I'm not about to list the tracks, as there is nothing bad here. Like Dido and Joss Stone, Jem seems to have carried the torch for UK music by starting her rise to fame in the US first. That we can't easily compare them is witness to the fantastic diversity of UK music we now have for our enjoyment. If you want to test the water first, amazon.com allows the hearing of samples of all tracks. Otherwise just give this album a try - it is good - and I can't wait to hear Jem live. I'm going to be mean and give it four stars - simply because I hope, and expect, to need to give her next album a higher rating.
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on 28 February 2005
This girl just came out of nowhere, the first time i heard anything about her was when she appeared on 'Music From The OC:Mix 1' and i kinda liked the song. Then when she appeared on the mix 2 album with a brilliant cover of 'Maybe I'm Amazed' i started to think 'who is this girl?'. Then i saw 'They' on the TV and that just blew me away, it is a fantastic song, the best song on the album i would say, its funky, you can dance to it, its great pop but with an edge. Other great songs on the album include 'Come on Closer' which is a fantastic song with heavy beats, a killer chorus, and mysterious whispered lyrics. 'Save Me' has a brilliant reggae vibe, its very different to any other pop i have heard before, its certainly not squeaky clean. 'Wish I' is such a happy song, you could imagine listening to this on a hot summers day while relaxing in the garden, perfect chill out music, love it.
Any comparisons to Dido are completely unjust, okay so there voices are freakishly similar but their sound is totally different. I really like Dido but all her songs seem to sound very similar, this is not the case with Jem, every song has its own unique style, there isnt really a protruding sound throughout the album, every song brings a different feel to the album.
Its a definite must buy for 2005, Its the best album i've heard in 2005 by far and i expect that we will be seeing a lot more from Jem in the future
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VINE VOICEon 13 July 2005
Jem isn't an artist I would usually have checked out, but my girlfriend expressed an interest in the album so I decided to give it a whirl. Boy am I glad I did!
The album provides such a variety, from the beautifully melodic lullaby of Flying High to the emotional lament of Missing You to the rocky riffs and energetic violins of 24. You'll definately find something in here that catches your ear, and there's enough genre blurring to get people from all musical cultures listening.
Even the first song, They, has a tasty selection of styles all mixed into one delicous song with it's contemporary pop heavy beats overlaid on spanish guitar riffs and samples of children singing.
Finally Woken is the musical equivalent of a good book that you just can't put down. Whether you are looking for an album to fall asleep to, wake up to, or listen through the day, this will fit the bill. Check it out!
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on 21 July 2005
A really interesting mix of styles, moods and sounds, some great lyrics and and a lovely voice make this a fab album to listen to and keep you hooked. Much more original than merely a "Dido wannabe". I love this album!
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on 27 July 2005
This girl offers a truly unique and beautiful slice of contemporary pop, her voice is sweet but never sickly, the music has lots of influences but never sounds like she's trying copy.
Dido she isn't and don't let anyone tell you otherwise, Jem's music is uplifting, dreamy, breezy and happy, there is none of the "dinner party" vibe that affects Dido's music who I find dull and sleep inducing.
I can honestly say there isnt a bad track on the album and I dont say that very often, I buy about 20 cd's a year.
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on 3 November 2004
Having never heard of Jem, before I was not sure if I would like her at all!
What a debut!! That is all I can say!
Jem Griffiths hails from wales and her voice has the same type of melodic qualities that Dido is lauded for without the slightly flat sound that haunts some of her more demanding tracks..
The opening track has a Foxbase Alpha meets Russian Folk meets Bond *the modern classics group* to it.
All those styles are fused together with superb backing vocals.
Finally woken (track 3) starts with what sounds like a Minnie Ripperton "Loving you" sample (its not but it reminds me of her) and then fuses that with gorgeous vocals tripping over a hip-hop beat.
There are a number of stand-outs and I could and would run out of words highlighting & describing them all.
Songs like "Wish I" (a tribute to that 60's lounge sound) "Just A Ride" (glorious hedonism unbridalled) "Falling For You" & "Flying High" also deserve a mention.
My advice would be buy this one!! You won't regret it.... Jem has REAL talent and is 1 to watch for sure!
There is also a belle & sebastien feel to this, particularly the newer stuff with Trevor Horn.
The Ambassador
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on 29 March 2005
Having been blown away by "They" on T4, I found Jem's website and listened to the whole album. On hearing it, I just KNEW I had to buy it! "They" is a superb track, but there are also other fab songs on this album...skip to "Save Me" with it's distinct Bob Marley influences, and "Missing You", a personal epitaph to a friend. OK, so there are only 11 tracks, which is unusual these days, but it's definitely a case of "quality not quantity", and I'm tired of 15-17 track albums where I only like about 4 songs. This is an 11 track record, with 11 excellent and very original tracks featuring influences as far reaching as reggae, acapella, heavy orchestration and even a little bit of Bollywood!
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on 23 March 2005
Forget the comparisons - Dido is a one-note singer and lacks the character of Jem. Finally Woken is a charming debut album, with lots of variety in tempo and musical style. It's easy listening at its best and all the better for being Welsh! As my sister, also a fan, says "They're great lyrics; simple words, but no one else has put them in a song!" Buy it. You'll like it at first and love it after the fourth or fifth playing.
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Welsh singer Jem meshes together a half dozen musical genres in her debut "Finally Woken." Expect pop, electro, maybe a dash of hip-hop here'n'there. The unclassifiable collection sounds messier than it is -- it ends up being sweet and sensuous with Jem's quietly throaty voice, even though it seems to fall through in the middle.
The album starts off strong with the tinkly, hip-hop-flavored "They," the ethereal "Come On Closer," and the sunny title track. But after the hard-edged "24," things start to slip down a bit with the forgettable pop "Missing You," childish "Ride," and pretty but unexciting "Falling For You."
It would be easy to dismiss the album there and then, as "Finally Woke" slips into the area of "instapop" that barely registers as the early songs do. Then Jem takes a steep turn back up with the gentle "Stay Now," and the soaring, sweet acoustic pop "Flying High."
"Finally Woken" has the distinction of being really hard to classify. There's some pop, trip-hop, hip-hop, folk and some little tinges of rock here and there. Its biggest problem is that the middle sags, as if Jem loses her enthusiasm after the first five songs or so, only to rediscover it at the end.
Jem's voice is what makes this album -- her voice is throaty, soft and gentle, and it serves as the centerpiece of the music. She doesn't strike a discordant note or lose her vocal confidence. What is more, her voice is capable of covering up the lyrical deficiencies of some of her songs, like the poppy "Wish I" ("Baby, you're sailing away/Sugar, wish I could go too/But honey you know/I'm happy for you").
The writing itself is fairly standard pop fare, with plenty of love songs that don't have particularly good writing. They're not bad, but most of them aren't that great either. The exception is "24," with its plaintively morbid: "In 24 hours they'll be/laying flowers/on my life, it's over tonight!" And backing it up is a mishmash of electronic beats, acoustic guitar, strings, percussion and perky chimes, that are somehow turned into a pretty, fresh pop sound.
The writing and middle songs are not up to par, but Jem's beautiful voice and crazy-quilt music make this "Just Woken" thoroughly enjoyable debut, in spite of its major flaws. Pretty and fun, this is worth checking out.
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on 26 February 2005
After first listenning to this album i thought lets listen again, always a good sign. It starts off very upbeat and calms down towards the end, each track is unique and has a lot of depth. It might of gotten 4 stars simply because it only has 11 tracks but the music definatly compensates, 11 tracks which is quite limited if you think most albums have around 13. The music is very good and if you are into kind of mellow music then this is for you, if you like Dido this is for you, if you hate the spice girls this is for you. It has something for most people, and is definatly worth a listen.
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