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CD Reviews: Jewel
Jewel: 0304
August 2003
By: Lauren Jonik (
album cover of Jewel's 0304

With the release of her fifth album, 0304, Jewel explores a new musical direction that feels like a metamorphosis into joy. While the CD is a slight departure from her previous albums, her attention to sharing her personal journey through her music remains. From her humble beginnings growing up in Alaska to her days as a struggling singer songwriter in San Diego to becoming a well known musical presence, Jewel has stayed true to her vision of living her life uncompromisingly without limits. Emerging onto the scene at the tail end of the grunge era in 1995, her first single, Who Will Save Your Soul, from Pieces Of You offered something fresh and organic. The simplicity of her sound was matched only by the distinctiveness of her vocals whose tone could change from soft, innocent and soothing to strong and powerful on the twist of a dime or in the space of a line.

The complexity of any artist--- or person--- lies in the seemingly paradoxical task of defining the undefinable and capturing it for just a moment. At times, the human experience demonstrates that what can appear contradictory can actually be complementary. When describing the evolution of her sound and the change in her public image, Jewel reminded that being smart and being sexy are not opposites. In fact, the acceptance of the many sides of ourselves only adds to our fullness and is a key element in growing--- and in growing up.

Intuition, the first single from 0304, which was co-written by Lester Mendez, is a dance-infused social commentary on pop culture in 2003. Amidst the changeable trends and the fads of the day, the ability to look within for guidance is forever at our fingertips. Follow you heart / Your intuition / It will lead u in the right direction / Let go of your mind / Your intuition is easy 2 find / Just follow your heart, baby. Themes of compassion, peace, and joy flow freely throughout 0304, but perhaps, it is when singing about romantic love, as on 2 Find U, that Jewel shines her brightest. Hey, u / Do not walk away / Let's choose love, come on / What do u say? / Hey, u / Know that I would spend / My whole life all over again / 2 find u.

Balancing the internal musings of her heart with her external observations of the world, Jewel twirls upon the edge of her own creativity. Through the known and the unknown, the message is the same: listen, speak, listen. As in Doin' Fine, Jewel expresses the simple and transformative truth that in the end, life itself is its own gift and what we bring to it is our own reward. So, come on baby / Let's just have fun / Let's breathe stardust into our lungs / Let's drive too fast / Let's go too far / When our hearts bleed it lets us know we are--- alive / And that we are--- doin' just fine.