it's gonna be a good day just wait and see

Music I've been marinating on Jewel's new album Goodbye Alice In Wonderland for a few weeks. It's a return to the form of This Way, a rock/folk/country fusion with that dreamy voice and extended vowels. The title track is a tour de force, recalling some of the tenderness of her first album Foolish Games before flying off into later day Sheryl Crow territory. Which is one of the few criticisms I have of the piece - much like a lot of music these days everything sort of sounds like something else which makes really difficult to review without referring to something else.

It is a pattern though that each of these singers seems to have an initial burst of freshness before spending much of the rest of their career trying to recapture the light or reinventing themselves. That's why Alanis Morissette, bless her, is forced into a corner with a certain amount of diminishing returns and Nelly Furtado has had to completely change her musical genre to keep up.

As I'm not at all tired of reminding everyone, I was one of the few people who was a fan of the previous album 0304 simply because it appeared to be a definite attempt to produce something new without alienating the fan base. And like the Doctor Who episode Love & Monsters it succeeded in splitting them down the middle. That a song from that album 'Fragile Heart' returns again with a new vocal and in-situ make over is testament to the fact that actually, despite the tight-pants and dance routines Jewel hadn't changed her style that much.

The stand out track here is 'Good Day' which begins in Nellie McKay territory with a near-rap before heading into a chorus which'll raise smile with anyone who's heard Natalie Imbruglia's 'That Day'.

'It's gonna be alright,
no matter what they say,
it's gonna be a good day just wait and see,
it's gonna be ok,
'cause I'm ok with me.'

Unlike that earlier track though, this is hammered out as an anthem, in the kind of voice that convinces you that no matter how awful things might seem right now, in fact it's 'gonna be ok'. The penultimate track 'Words Get In The Way' is equally soothing, in a loud, rocky, surprising way, even if it threatens to tip off into MOR territory. That it doesn't is a testament that Jewel continues to win the ensuing battle between individualism and attracting the record buying public. This girl still has a lot of Spirit.

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