Jewel
Pieces of You


5.0
classic

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
July 10th, 2011 | 55 replies | 8,487 views


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: what we call human nature in actuality is human habit

By now, we all know the story of how Jewel came to be what she is today – how she overcame a poverty stricken life as a young adult by writing and performing music out of a van, gaining local recognition, and eventually going on to tour at venues worldwide. Her long and illustrious career has spurred numerous honors, awards, and tributes as she has transformed into one of pop’s most recognizable figures from the past two decades. But for as renowned as her works are today, perhaps no other is as universally acclaimed and personally relevant as her debut album. Pieces of You offers a glimpse into the soul of Jewel during the most tumultuous time in her life – when luxuries couldn’t be found and simple pleasures were the cornerstone of her existence. As a first-hand account of her life before being discovered, the album offers some of the most breathtaking music that one girl and her acoustic guitar can make – as well as poetic lyrics that speak for an entire generation.

Pieces of You is an appropriately titled album because it touches on so many of the fundamental emotions that we experience throughout life. The title track is saturated with jealousy and passionate hatred, as Jewel sings abhorrently about the shallowness of women in our society, along with a lack of tolerance for homosexuals and Jews. Lines such as “ugly girl, do you hate her 'cause she's pieces of you?” and “you say he's a faggot, are you afraid you're just the same?” compel introspection, while the love-soaked lyrics of songs like ‘Near You Always’ and ‘Morning Song’ evoke a sense of ecstasy that could only be experienced more directly by living out the line “Let the phone ring, let's go back to sleep…Tell your boss you're sick, hurry, get back in I'm getting cold…Get over here and warm my hands up, boy, it's you they love to hold.” With every line uttered, Jewel paints a picture that will overwhelm your senses and immerse you in her music; in her experiences. The melodies are sung with such irresistible charm and candidness that you might even overlook the raw poetic beauty stemming from Jewel’s voice, although such oversights are usually short-lived in the wake of her immense lyrical capabilities. From start to finish, Pieces of You will affect you more than you probably want it to, clawing at the bare bones of what you think you are, how you view others, and how you perceive emotions such as love.

While it is unusual for an album to come along that is so uniformly inspiring, it remains even rarer for that same album to possess such mesmerizing instrumental backing. This is an album driven by and comprised solely of Jewel and her acoustic guitar, which makes the record’s entrancing sound even more remarkable. The quick, varied picking techniques present on ‘Who Will Save Your Soul’ provides contrast to her deep, throaty vocals in what is easily one of Jewel’s greatest hits, while the slow strumming of a song like ‘I’m Sensitive’ allows more of an atmospheric feel that illuminates large portions of the record. The vocals and acoustic guitar clearly rely on each other throughout Pieces of You, as the facets trade responsibilities to keep each song sounding fresh. Sometimes the guitar is the centerpiece, and other times Jewel’s angelic voice highlights the song. Either way, she manages to get all of her messages across – whether they are delivered through a simple hum, a heartfelt chord, or a forthright lyrical statement.

For Pieces of You’s entire duration, she is detailing every aspect of her life…not so much by lengthily recounting her past; but by making brief, emotionally moving gestures that command your full attention while spurring a desire to look inwards and find pieces of her in you. It is an album that we should all hear at some point in our lives, because, somewhere deep down, we are already living it. Jewel may not have upheld the magnificence of this record for all sixteen years of her career, but she just might have said everything she needed to right here. Pieces of You is a timeless classic, and it remains a long-standing example of the heights that pop music can aspire to reach.



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user ratings (44)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 10th 2011



15332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Was surprised by the lack of a review for this album...

Also the average rating caught me off guard, this is undoubtedly one of the greatest records a pop artists has ever made...

Digging: Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus

pizzamachine
July 10th 2011



12571 Comments


Lovely review Sowing, and I quite mean that.

asaf
July 10th 2011



885 Comments


this bitch is a nazi and you're a 90's fag.

Digging: Heart To Heart - Dulce

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
July 10th 2011



7018 Comments


Pieces of You is a timeless classic, and it remains a long-standing example of the heights that pop music can aspire to reach.

What a depressing concluding sentence. This is the heights that pop music can reach? Come on now.


Digging: Braid - No Coast

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 10th 2011



15332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I believe it is. She has a real connection with every song, and the music and lyrics just mold together in such a sublime way that it can't really be perceived as contrived

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
July 10th 2011



23798 Comments


really good review. some of it seems like you're overdoing it a bit, like this part:

"From start to finish, Pieces of You will affect you more than you probably want it to, clawing at the bare bones of what you think you are, how you view others, and how you perceive emotions such as love."

but you have to justify your 5 so I think it's fine.

pos

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 10th 2011



15332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I dunno maybe that's taking it too far, but the way she sings on here (along with what she is saying, directly or indirectly) made me think about a lot of things...it's just so...personal.

MO
July 10th 2011



18198 Comments


Great review sowing. Pos.

Digging: Immolation - Dawn of Possession

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 10th 2011



15332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

nah man i'd much rather have sex with her personality and her way with words

Xenophanes
Emeritus
July 10th 2011



10585 Comments


Loved the review but fucking lol

Digging: United Nations - The Next Four Years

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
July 10th 2011



23798 Comments


no the point of my post is that i think its fine. like it kind of made me roll my eyes, but I've never heard the album and if I was writing a 5-star review I'd probably say some of the same sorts of things.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 10th 2011



15332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I didn't realize people on this site thought Jewel isn't very good

I mean her newer stuff is meh but this is in a whole other league

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
July 10th 2011



23798 Comments


I've never listened to Jewel. I mean I'm sure I've heard one or two of her songs on the radio or something but I couldn't point out any of her stuff.

someguest
July 10th 2011



20239 Comments


Pieces Of Jew

Digging: Modest Mouse - The Lonesome Crowded West

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
July 10th 2011



23798 Comments


hahahaha what's that from I feel like I've heard that joke on TV or something

someguest
July 10th 2011



20239 Comments


wwII was pretty popular back in the day

tiesthatbind
July 10th 2011



7371 Comments


Nice review as always.

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

qwe3
July 10th 2011



21353 Comments


jewel is actually pretty good but lol 5/5?

Tyrael
July 10th 2011



20724 Comments


Sowing gives a pop album a 5... Want!

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
July 10th 2011



1588 Comments


"From start to finish, Pieces of You will affect you more than you probably want it to, clawing at the bare bones of what you think you are, how you view others, and how you perceive emotions such as love."

but you have to justify your 5 so I think it's fine.

I don't think such overzealous descriptions are necessary in justifying a 5 ranking. For the most part the review is good, but there's a couple lines in there that go overboard like the one quoted.

As for the album itself, I can certainly dig it. Think I'd take something like Joni Mitchell's Blue or Tracy Chapman or more recently Nancy Elizabeth's Battle and Victory over this. But would rank it alongside something like Bic Runga's Drive and Florence and the Machine's debut.



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