A Review of Jewel’s Latest Album Goodbye Alice in Wonderland

Jewel: Goodbye Alice in Wonderland I was a junior in high school when Jewel stepped on to the music scene. I have to admit, I owned her first album, Pieces of You. I found her “I lived in a van down by the river” waifishness charming. And there was something really hot about that one scraggly tooth of hers. I think it had something to do with my being a 17-year-old virgin. At the time, I even liked some of the songs.

That was back when I still possessed the uniquely teenage ability to find depth where there wasn’t any. The first song on Jewel’s new album, Goodbye, Alice in Wonderland, is titled “Again and Again.” What I’m sure the artist meant to be a comment on an on again/off again relationship inadvertently became a mission statement for the album.

While I give Jewel credit for taking a step back from her misguided foray into dance music (even the cover of the 0304 album makes me cringe), her new album is a collection of 13 songs she’s already written. I’m still listening to it, actually. I usually can’t listen to music while I write, but this shit is so banal, it doesn’t faze me. I do hear a hit single in “Good Day.”

Not because it’s a particularly good song, but because it’s got one of those soaring “Everything’s gonna be ok” choruses that soccer moms seem to love so much. Don’t get me started on the lyrics. They piss me off to no end. Not because they’re worse than most on modern radio. It’s because Jewel’s book of poetry, A Night Without Armor, is the best-selling collection of poems from the last 50 years.

This makes gems like “We know a lot about modern technology/but not about dreams” sting all the more. Legend has it Jewel got her start at open-mic nights in the coffee shops of her native Alaska. I’m sure they were a perfect venue for her songs. Because, well, they’re better than that guy who keeps coming in to read his epic poems about Middle Earth, but not something you’d tolerate if you didn’t really want to sleep with that barista with the lip ring.

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