We know artists love to reinvent themselves, but this is nuts.
After eight years and three solid albums of contemporary folk and rootsy pop, Jewel Kilcher has up and decided she wants to be -- are you ready? -- a dance-pop tart. No, really.
On her fourth album 0304, the singer-songwriter trades in her jeans and flannel for day-glo duds from a Flashdance revival, buries her acoustic guitar under thumping beatboxes, booty-wiggling basses and squiggly robo-synths, cops the staccato arrangements and slick production of the Backstreet Boys, and puts her angelic, crystalline voice to work on insubstantial fluff stuffed with deep and timeless sentiments such as, "I wanna hold u tonight / It'll be alright." No Jewel, it won't.
Sure, there are a few smarter cuts that work -- Leave the Lights On and Haunted mine trip-hoppy veins, while Sweet Temptation and Yes U Can revive the new-wave sugar-buzz of The Bangles or Missing Persons.
But the bulk of 0304 isn't going to save her soul -- or anyone else's.
(More on Jewel)
2. Run 2 U
4. Leave The Lights On
5. 2 Find U
6. Fragile Heart
7. Doin' Fine
8. 2 Become 1
10. Sweet Temptation
11. Yes U Can
12. U & Me = Love