Lightened Up

Jewel's pop attitude is new. The sounds are not

Jewel was a big deal a few years back--in spite of herself. She was a pop singer with a nice voice, but she dispensed her hippie homilies with a spooky intensity, as if she thought her words were closer in meaning to Toni Morrison's than Toni Braxton's. Her popularity proved that people will put up with a lot as long as they can sing along with the chorus.

On her last two albums the hooks mostly disappeared, and so did the fans. Jewel has taken the hint. 0304, produced by Lester Mendez (he helped Shakira cross over), aggressively mines rap, pop...

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