Lost in ‘Wonderland’

By |2006-06-08T09:00:00-04:00June 8th, 2006|Entertainment|

Not only did singer-songwriter, and newly reformed pop princess, Jewel recently appear on “Extreme Makeover,” but she also has a commonality with the show.
No, not a newly renovated home, but a new start. That’s right, for her latest record, “Goodbye Alice In Wonderland,” Jewel strips her generic dance-beat synthesizers that filled its predecessor, “0304.”
But that doesn’t make the overproduced “Wonderland” as intriguing as Alice’s adventures. The Alaskan singer-songwriter, although more mature at 32, attempts to take fans back to her “Pieces of You” days on this self-indulgent record. But, just like she sings on her new album, “the words get in the way.”
Although a step up from “0304,” cliches and lifeless lyrics trace Jewel’s path from young singer-songwriter through her notorious “living in a van” story and then to her “glory” days, where she realizes that fame isn’t all that.
“Wonderland” just doesn’t stick. Venturing through more organic territory suits Jewel’s songwriting, but the beats flood into each other and the songs lose their already muted color, making a project that could’ve been interesting into a bland confessional that’ll have your fingers glued to the fast-forward button.
Luckily, every few songs give us a gem that shines among the often-dull tunes. On “Goodbye Alice In Wonderland” Jewel embraces her acoustic side and escapes the fairy tale life she once wanted, but didn’t get.
“So goodbye Alice in Wonderland/Goodbye yellow brick road/There is a difference between dreaming and pretending/That was not love in your eyes,” she sings on the autobiographical tune.
It’s a sparsely produced and – “Wizard of Oz” reference aside – gracefully penned ditty.
But for every diamond there are a few chunks of cement.
She embraces her rock edge on the disastrous “Good Day,” which wouldn’t have been so bad without Jewel’s ridiculous conversational intro. She rehashes a feebly written tune – 0304’s “Fragile Heart” – that doesn’t improve much from its former dance-heavy beat with its Britney Spears-esque lyrics (“If U want my heart/U have 2 promise not 2 tear it apart/’Cause my heart/Has been hurt a lot”).
Apparently, the “Wonderland” album began as a collection in the vain of the no-holds-barred “Pieces of You,” but, dissatisfied with the results, Jewel re-recorded with Rob Cavallo of Green day.
Well, like the saying, the third time is a charm. Too bad Jewel only recorded this album twice.

About the Author:

Chris Azzopardi
Chris Azzopardi is the Editorial Director of Pride Source Media Group and Q Syndicate, the national LGBTQ wire service. He has interviewed a multitude of superstars, including Cher, Meryl Streep, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, GQ and Billboard. Reach him via Twitter @chrisazzopardi.