Tuesday, June 22, 2010

'90s Nostalgia: Jewel's New Album Takes Us Back

Jewel is back. Well, she never really left, but after 2008’s country album, “Perfectly Clear” and last year’s album of lullabies, Jewel returns to form with her new album “Sweet and Wild.” While it is a follow-up country album, she is also releasing a companion cd called “Sweet and Mild” that consists of exactly the same songs, but it’s the Jewel I prefer as it is all acoustic tracks which are demos that were recorded in her home.

If you prefer her country sound, you can purchase “Sweet and Wild” on its own, but if you’re like me and you like the Jewel from her “Pieces of You” days, I recommend picking up the deluxe album which includes “Sweet and Mild” – the 11 tracks stripped down with just her and a guitar.

The two tracks that stand out the most on this album are “What You Are” and “Ten.” In “What You Are,” Jewel, being the ever-consummate poet, turns her words to music in this melodic number about celebrating and accepting who you are without questioning it. “Ten” is one of the songs I actually prefer in country music format on the “Sweet and Wild” album because it is a true country song at its core. Easily relatable, it’s about getting into a fight or argument and just stepping back and counting to ten before you take it any further and create regrets.
In her eighth studio album and her second in the country music genre, on the “Mild” disc, Jewel finds her voice in a collection of songs reminiscent of her debut fifteen years ago. In “Wild,” she employs a country twang no doubt partly inspired by her life with husband, Ty Murray, living on their ranch in Texas. With a voice like hers, it’s pretty safe to say that no matter what sound or genre she’s experimenting with, there’s no such thing as a ‘bad Jewel album.’ “Sweet and Wild” is yet another example of that.

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