Okay, so the image reboot of Jewel’s 0304 didn’t exactly work out. I’m being charitable—spawning the loathsome single “Intuition,” which has the dubious distinction of being forever linked to a similarly named feminine hygiene product, and little else besides vast amounts of incredulous ink spilled about how a once-compelling singer-songwriter had sold out (see also Liz Phair). Banish the image of Jewel gyrating in gangsta duds, as Goodbye Alice In Wonderland finds the Alaskan native firmly back in more organic territory. Acoustic guitar and wan poetry in hand with producer Rob Cavallo behind the board, Jewel ventures tentatively into the country-pop territory founded by the likes of Dixie Chicks, Shawn Colvin, and Shania Twain. Album opener and first single “Again And Again” is a slick, radio-ready ditty as vacuous as it is catchy, while the title track feels naggingly familiar, as though Jewel mined her back catalog to rework a lesser-known song. While Goodbye Alice In Wonderland is a return to form for Jewel, said form is bland, mostly colorless, and devoid of any truly memorable cuts that elevate the album to a disc worth spinning more than once. Add to the mix confusing PR statements (“The record business has been the little bottle of elixir that said ‘Drink me!’ and it has taken me on one hell of a wild ride.”) Some may be glad to have the singer-songwriter with the crystalline pipes back, and say what you will about the misguided attempts at dirtying up her image, but at least Jewel’s dance-pop incarnation generated buzz.
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