Jewel – Picking Up the Pieces – album review
Jewel Kilcher not only allows but invites her fans and public to enter into her own life’s new phase. She has just released her new book Never Broken which is oddly not the first biography on this singer/poet as well as a brand new album which is cleverly titled Picking Up the Pieces, a not so subtle nod to her debut Pieces of You. It has been 20 years since that breakthrough album that launched her into superstardom, so I suppose this should be considered a celebration of her career.
Picking Up the Pieces attempts to recapture the essence of Pieces of You. While that feel that we’ve been missing from the artist of that stripped down simplicity of singer with guitar has been thoroughly revisited, the innocence of that classic debut is missing. However, this does not mean that this isn’t a solid effort because it’s actually quite good. The first single My Father’s Daughter is a very catchy and the chorus sticks in your head for days. According to her very recent Howard Stern, the lyrics tell the story about how Jewel herself is the realization of her celebrity brought on by the sacrifices made by her father, grandmother and so on. She duets with Dolly Parton which is like a dream match up for me, I always believed that their voices were quite similar.
While most of the album has an overall country music feel, there are some folk/pop songs such as The Shape of You. This is my personal vote for the next single release, it’s as good as her early masterpiece Foolish Games. The mood is quiet and her angelic voice soars over her lyrics like an autumn breeze. Dolly Parton wasn’t the only duet here, she trades lines with Rodney Cowell on It Doesn’t Hurt Right Now. While I do like the song, I feel it would have made a larger emotional impact with her as the sole singer.
Picking Up The Pieces doesn’t house an eclectic assortment, we have a straight ahead country/ folk group of songs. While I always appreciate emotional deliveries, there are places when it could get a bit dramatic, which lets face it, will not appeal to everybody. His Pleasure is My Pain is a bit schizophrenic as far as genre. It starts off with an East Indian type of feel, and by the time we get to the chorus she returns to her usual brand of Jewel music. She recites the lyrics at points, which may also turn some off. Personally I like it, the lyrics are touching and empowering at the same time.
The lyrics are personal which could be a good thing, yet with a song like Plain Jane she tries to inject humor into her lyrics, however the joke feels too inside. I don’t get any of it. Is this even supposed to be funny? I remember that even with her greatest release, Pieces of You, I didn’t like every song yet I’d be quick to recommend it to everyone. Picking Up the Pieces is better than most of her previous releases, and I hope that it breaks out on terrestrial radio as well as VEVO or Spotify. It’s real good and i hope that many will give it a chance.
September 30th, 2015