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  1. Taylor Swifts recent Folklore reign in Alternative music reminded me a time in music when women began to reign in Alternative music. People like Sheryl Crow helped pave the way for Alanis Morisettes’ monstrous album Jagged Little Pill, Meredith Brooks made it known that she was a ***** and then there was a folk artist named Jewel Kilcher who went by the name her first name: Jewel. This week on Music Vault Wednesdays I want to talk about Jewel and her album 0304 and how folk/country/alternative music ruled music until the Teen Pop music craze came in. Jewels debut album Pieces of Me came out at the beginning of 1995, but it failed to chart. Later on people would catch onto the coffee shop performer folk style and would fall in love with her emotional song Who Will Save Your Soul which peaked at number 11 on the BB100. Jewel got her big break by performing at coffee shops in San Diego and looking back on shows like Friends I wonder if Phoebes’ character has anything to do with performers like Jewel. Anyway, Jewels second single You Were Meant for Me went platinum and peaked at number two which made her a household name. Foolish Games became another hit for Jewel and peaked at number two. Albums used to sell in 90’s and Pieces of Me stayed on the BB200 for two years which subsequently helped the album go platinum twelve times! Jewels second album Spirit came out in November of 1998 and achieved moderate success which helped it go platinum three times. Her first single Hands was another hit for her and peaked at number six. The rest of her singles from that album did not get the chance to shine as bright as her previous singles. I think the reason her album Spirit saw less success than her debut is because folk/alternative artists like Jewel began to compete with artists like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, N’sync and Backstreet Boys. The teen pop craze was in full force and alternative artists were the background music. Nonetheless, Jewel went onto drop her third record This Way in November 2001. The album’s first single Standing Still became a top 20 hit and the album went platinum. One of my personal favorites from this album is the single Break Me. In 2001 pop stars were ruling the charts and artists like Jewel were disappearing. There was also a rise in rap, hip-hop and rock music. I think this made Jewel take a look at whether or not she would stand the test of time. With the landscape of music changing Jewel decided to take a chance and decided her fourth album would be completely different from her first three. Jewels fourth album 0304 came out at the peak of Pop music in 2003 and became her highest BB200 debut peaking at number two. The album did not go platinum, but spawned the top twenty hit Intuition. The single was Jewels vision of pop music and the music video was satirical but the general public didn’t take it that way. In fact, I think most of her fans felt that she was selling out and left folk/alternative for pop. The album is Jewels interpretation of Pop music and in my opinion would be labeled today as “Purposeful Pop” I wonder if Katy Perry ever took notes. Singles like Stand describe a world through Jewels eyes, Leave the lights on and Fragile Heart are reminiscent of her folk days with a pop twist. 2 Become 1 was the third single and is a throwback to 90’s alternative music, but the production is smooth and Jewels lyrics still take center stage. Songs like Haunted take you into a darker side of Jewel and U & Me=Love makes it known that Jewel can write infectious hooks and create good pop music. The album as a whole is probably my favorite Jewel album after her emotional debut Pieces of Me. In 2006 Jewel went back to her roots and released Goodbye Alice in Wonderland the first single Again and Again peaked at number 80 the latter did not chart. The year of 2006 saw artists like T.I, Nelly Furtado, Fergie, Justin Timberlake and other urban artists take center stage. There wasn’t much room for artists like Jewel. In 2008 Jewel went on to release Perfectly Clear a country album that spawned the hit country single Stronger Woman and a string of other singles. Jewels’ last album Picking up The Pieces was released in 2015 and to be frank I have not heard it, but I’m sure the writing on it is great. One of the things that I always admired about Jewel is that she writes all of her lyrics and she even composes her own music. Her album 0304 is when she started to branch out and work with other producers. The reason I bring up Jewel, her legacy and her album 0304 is because music will always have trends. We are currently seeing the peak of Trap music which will probably go on for another year or so, but Taylor Swifts Folklore staying at number one for six weeks is a sign of what’s probably to come. The next shift in music is probably going to sway to alternative or alt-pop and some artists will likely fade while others will rise. If you think about it we already saw this coming with artists like Billie Eillish, Harry Styles and Lewis Capaldi topping the charts within the past year. What are your thoughts on Jewel? Any favorite songs? Also, are you ready for alternative music to come back or do you see it taking over main stream radio? Comment below!
  2. Introduction So, some of you may be confused by the title: "Who dafuq is this J e w e l girl, huh??? ". Well, I did not know she existed either, until Todd in the Shadows introduced me to her. Basically, Jewel is a folk singer who released her debut album in 1995. It spawned her three biggest hits: "Who Will Save Your Soul", "You Were Meant For Me", and "Foolish Games". She continued making that kind of music for her next two albums. ...And then 2003 came along, when Jewel had the bright idea to start making dance-pop! And that's how her fourth album, 0304, was born. Single #1: "Intuition" The lead single from 0304, "Intuition" was released to pretty mixed reviews: some said it's a nice and fun song, while others thought that she sold out and started making this "pop s**t". The song itself is meant to be about how empty and shallow the modern world is, while the chorus talks about how you should "follow your intuition" and be yourself. Jewel also said that the music video is meant to be a parody of music videos and what happens in them. I think this song is kinda a bop, but the chorus is just kinda overblown / too big. Also, some of the lyrics are s**t. Single #2: "Stand" 0304 also had another single, "Stand". It was a flop and not many people remember it. "Stand" also is meant to be a social commentary song with a cute pop sound. ...And then the bridge comes right dafuq outta nowhere, and has a completely different sound. The corresponding section of the music video shows Jewel trying to be sexy while in a shower. I wholeheartedly believe that this part of the song was inspired by songs from In The Zone and the M/V is definitely trying to copy the shower scenes from "Toxic". Single #3: "2 Become 1" A third single... exists. I don't have much to say about it, it's kinda boring and has the same title as a Spice Girls song. My thoughts After listening to 0304, I can say that it's a pretty uninteresting record. Most of the songs just kinda... exist. Despite the first single being a dance-pop track, most of the album is pop rock. There are, howerver, some noteworthy tracks. For example, song #9, "Haunted". It's much darker compared to the rest of the record and (from what I read) talks about a girl and her stalker, and sounds a bit like Madonna's "Mer Girl". It's definitely one of my favourites from the album. Then there are "Stand", "2 Find U", "Fragile Heart", "Sweet Temptation", "Yes U Can", and "Becoming" - all cute and nice tracks. On the bad side, we have "America", another attempt at social commentary, except the lyrics get progressively dumber and dumber until we get to this gem: "We are gettin' tan in America We love Spam in America Polanski's banned from America" One of my problems is that the album is pretty long - most of the songs are around 4 minutes. Also, there is a fair share of trash lyrics. Honestly, though, I don't think I can explain the whole ordeal with this album all that well, so I'd just recommend that you watch Todd's episode of TRAINWRECKORDS on this album: And check out 0304 here: So, what do you think? Do you now know who this J e w e l girl is? Or have you heard of her and 0304 before? Do you think this album was inspired by Britney or not? Discuss all of that and more below!
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