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Reviews

Released: 11th September 2015.

Jewel - Picking Up the Pieces2015 is definitely the year of comebacks, and Jewel's latest studio album is one of them. Aptly titled 'Picking Up the Pieces', it comes 20 years after her legendary debut 'Pieces of You'.

Since then, Jewel has been expanding her sparse folk sound and experimenting with pop and country music before going full-on country on her previous two albums. 'Picking Up the Pieces' sees the singer-songwriter return to her roots not only in terms of genre, but also in terms of song choices, as she included many B-sides from her debut era such as "A Boy Needs a Bike" or "Carnivore".

The polished, sugary country production and songwriting that dominated Jewel's later work is gone here, replaced with an unconventional song structure and talking in "His Pleasure Is My Pain", raw and unconstrained vocals in "Carnivore", childlike quirks in "Plain Jane", and autobiographical songwriting focused on her divorce ("Love Used to Be") and her family ("Family Tree", "My Father's Daughter").

Despite the significant switch from the pure country of her previous two albums to the folk of her earlier albums, she retains the country elements through duets with country legends Rodney Cromwell and Dolly Parton. Her duet with the latter, "My Father's Daughter" displays stunning vocal harmonies between the two singers and solidifies Jewel's strength as both a folk and a country artist.

While a return to her roots, this album does not try to replicate 'Pieces of You'. Instead, it is a blend of the things we loved about early Jewel and the life experiences that made her who she is today. 'Picking Up the Pieces' will most likely remain unnoticed by the general public, but it is nothing short of a strong, impressive comeback that proves that Jewel is still here and still extraordinary.

* * * * * (mrlemonade)

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