Pieces Of You


Atlantic Records, 1995




"What, are you stupid?"

Jewel's first reaction to Atlantic Records's interest in her was genuine surprise; another singer-songwriter working in the nightclubs-and-coffeehouse circuit, she never thought that people would "actually listen to this stuff."

Pieces of You captures Jewel's live-gig atmosphere by using no more than three or four instruments at a time. Aside from the requisite ballads for my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Billboard entry ("Near You Always", "Morning Song", "Don't"), the album contains pun-intended gem material that makes "The Daily Vault" what it is. From the freestyle poetry by Jewel in the liner notes to crystal high notes in "Amen", Pieces of You needs to be given full attention. But feel free to wander in your memories.

To begin with the singles, "Who Will Save Your Soul" and "You Were Meant For Me" tend to be more restricted to form than the rest of the album. The latter song is my personal favorite on the album; using scenes from everyday, Jewel soulfully captures destiny and creates a solid signature song for herself.

What makes this album work is definitely Jewel's soul. Her control over her voice and guitar (Jewel does all the guitar work in this album) brings to life songs that would otherwise sound like poetry in on-campus cafes; incomprehensible/boring. "Foolish Games" works because of the wailing chorus both tired and yearning. "Adrian" works with Jewel's full-blown empathy. "I'm Sensitive" works because she puts almost no soul in it at all; just a simple listenable song (take a break from the emotional overhaul).

But with no less than fourteen tracks on a debut album, it's inevitable that something would turn up lacking. The hypnotizing ballad "Painters" is sandwiched by inferior lyric-gimmicked "Near You Always" and "Morning Song". "Don't" sounds almost exactly like "Near You Always" because they use the same gimmick. "Angel Standing By" would be a good track but listed next to "Amen", both songs diminish.

You'll notice that this album is so quiet - even "Daddy", a revenge track. I've met many people who wanted their money back because they're so used to having meaning thrown at them at a higher volume. But just give Pieces Of You a little time and concentration. It's not that bad; it's impact, but with an ulterior energy which in itself is a joy to be found.

Rating: B+

User Rating: B


© 1997 JB and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Atlantic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.