Sweet And Wild

This post is one of a series I’m writing as part of my participation as an official blogger for COUNTRY Financial/Cotton States’ Road Trips and Guitar Picks tour program, covering Jewel’s June 13 concert in Huntsville, where I’ll have backstage access.

I wrote the other day about going back through my Jewel collection to get ready for her concert Sunday. Conveniently, her new album — Sweet and Wild — was released Tuesday, so I thought I would share the experience of listening to the new album to get ready for this weekend by liveblogging it as I listen. Here then are my thoughts on the tracks of Sweet and Wild as I’m listening to them:

1) Based solely on the title, when I went to listen to No Good In Goodbye, I was expecting something a little more like Juliet Turner’s No Good In This Goodbye. My expectations couldn’t have been further off. Rather than being slow and mournful, No Good In Goodbye starts the album off on a surprisingly upbeat tempo. (Of course, I’ll admit the opening lines drew to mind another song, Like A Rolling Stone, with Jewel’s “Once upon a time used to feel so fine; I really made you shine …” intro.) As best as I can tell, she’s heartbroken, but she’s still pretty peppy about it. I looked for lyrics, and could only find words to another unreleased Jewel song of the same name. That said, pretty catchy.

2) I Love You Forever — Couldn’t find lyrics to this one either. Did find where someone had attributed Donna Lewis’ “I Love You Always Forever” to Jewel mistakenly, but that doesn’t help. Separated lovers, but the devotion-across-the-distance makes the upbeatness make a bit more sense. And, dang it, I do like peppy songs.

3) Fading — The song involves Jewel naked in the Wal-Mart bathroom. I’m just saying. Reflections on mortality and mundanity. But still peppy, dang it. That should bother me, maybe, but it’s just too peppy for me to complain. “I am fading, just like fairy tales, when the hero loses faith.” But I’m OK with that, you know. Might seem more unrealistic if that wasn’t kinda where I am in life.

4) What You Are — Country Jewel sounds a little different than old-school Jewel. This song sounds the most Jewel-y of the album thus far. Not sure why. Starts slower, but, shockingly, gets peppy again. “You are what you are, and what you are is strong enough.”

5) Bad As It Gets — OK, the name promised something a little more downbeat. And while the chorus is still kinda rousing, it’s not exactly peppy. “Is this as bad as it gets tonight? Tell me I’ve seen the worst of this jagged knife deep inside my broken heart, it’ll only leave a scar.” Lori McKenna would sing this song in a way that makes you want to carve out your heart with a spoon rather than feel anything else. Jewel makes it kind of fun. And, again, I’m OK with that.

6) Summer Home In Your Arms — “Oh Jesus, this love stuff can sure be scary / But so sweet… So sweet.” Jewel slows things a bit with this song, that sounds exactly what it’s describing — sweet and easy and relaxed.

7) Stay Here Forever — I must have heard this song when I watched the movie Valentines Day, but I don’t remember. That said, I like it. Halfway through the song, halfway through the album, this track strikes me as one that will be a personal favorite, though I don’t know exactly why. What the song’s talking about, I want that.

8 ) No More Heartaches — After the return to peppy on the last track, Jewel stays in that vein with this peppy break-up song, but it works — “There’ll be no more heartaches for me.” For some reason, my initial reaction to this song is that I have no initial reaction to this song. I have a feeling I’ll develop a strong opinion about it at some point in the future.

9) One True Thing — Lyrics aren’t online for this one either. Wish they were. Kinda like this song. Still peppy, of course. This one and Stay Here Forever are the two songs so far that are just begging to be put on a mix CD for somebody. (OK, I just noticed that the lyrics are in the album booklet. Whoops. Yay for physical media, though.)

10) Ten — Yep, the song shares its name with its place on the album. Clever, huh? OK, at this point, this album as a whole is just kinda peppy. I like that. I’m gradually getting into country music, which I guess is true of Jewel, too, but I’m glad that there are two of us who don’t believe that some portion of every album has to be a bummer.

11) Satisfied — OK, I don’t know that I concur with Jewel’s assessment that “Cause the only real pain / Your heart can ever know / Is the feeling of regret / When you don’t let your feelings show.” And the album ends on a non-peppy note. But not a bummer, either. Kinda anthemic, maybe?