Last Updated on March 12, 2022 by Lil Ginge
Spirit is a studio album released by folk-rock singer Jewel. The second album released by Jewel, Spirit was originally released in 1998. Debuting on November 17, 1998, it is her second album following her multi-platinum debut Pieces of You. The album was released by Atlantic Records and was co-produced by Peter Collins and Patrick Leonard. The album, which sold 3.7 million copies in the United States as of 2010, clocks in at 54:12.
Official Music Video for Lead Single “Hands”
What Genre Is Jewel’s Album Spirit?
Spirit is generally considered to be both a pop/rock album and a folk-rock album. But its production values have much more of a pop/rock sheen than its more purely folky predecessor, Pieces of You. With a tight cast of supporting musicians playing everything from electric guitar to electric piano and cello, Spirit fits well into the mid-90s adult alternative music scene.
Some say Jewel appealed to sensitive female teenagers and preteen girls. But she also appeals to this middle-aged man, for one. Her lyrics are as insightful and full of depth as ever. And the improved production values of the album make it more of a consistent joy (and less auditory work) to listen to than Pieces. This was surely helped along by the guiding hands of producers Peter Collins and Patrick Leonard.
Composition of Spirit
Spirit is generally composed of new musical material that Jewel began writing after releasing her debut album in 1995. The following year, Jewel teamed up with producer Peter Collins to record six new songs. However, those sessions were scrapped in response to the massive radio airplay her singles from Pieces of You started to receive.
The songs on this album convey many serious and weighty themes. For example, the tune “Fat Boy”, a burning ballad, tells the tale of a young boy Jewel grew up with in Alaska. The boy, devastated by his weight and the feeling that he could never be loved, committed suicide on Jewel’s family’s property.
Jewel also commented that the song “Hands” was inspired that sometimes when she did not know exactly what she was thinking or how she was feeling, watching her physical hands would clue her in as to what was happening in her subconscious. But the song reaches far weightier depths when speaking of how one can feel powerful in a world that is sometimes overwhelmingly terrible.
Critical Reception of Jewel’s Spirit
Jewel’s album Spirit tended to receive middling reviews overall. For example, Allmusic gave the album three stars, as did Rolling Stone magazine. Entertainment Weekly gave the album a score of B-.
Entertainment Weekly’s David Browne criticized Jewel’s lyrics and penchant for sweet vocals and melodies to make the troubles and ills of the world sound too benign. But compared to the pop singers of today who tend to shy away from the troubles of the world completely – aside from temporary romantic heartbreak – Jewel’s approach is positively devastating.
On the other hand, Jon Pareles of The New York Times compared Jewel’s music and vocals favorably with the likes of Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks, and Michael Stipe – no faint praise, indeed. The pleasure of Jewel’s vocal, in general, is a running theme throughout critical writeups of the album, even when people are decidedly meh on her other musical and lyrical attributes.
- Deep Water (4:16)
- What’s Simple Is True (3:34)
- Hands (3:54)
- Kiss The Flame (3:17)
- Down So Long (4:13)
- Innocence Maintained (4:08)
- Jupiter (4:18)
- Fat Boy (2:54)
- Enter from the East (4:02)
- Barcelona (3:53)
- Life Uncommon (4:56)
- Do You (4:21)
- Absence of Fear / This Little Bird (7:25)
Singles from Spirit
- Hands – released October 7, 1998
- Down So Long – Released March 16, 1999
- Jupiter – Released August 17, 1999
- What’s Simple Is True (Remixed) – Released October 12, 1999
- Life Uncommon – Released April 13, 2000
- Paul Bushnell – Bass, Drums
- Jude Cole – Acoustic Guitar, Dulcimer, Electric Guitar, Backing Vocals, Mandolin, Dobro
- Luis Conte – Percussion
- James Harrah – Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
- Jewel – Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
- Patrick Leonard – Keyboards, Piano, Electric Piano, Programming, B-3 Organ
- Brian Macleod – Drums
- Nedra Carroll – Backing Vocals (Hands)
- David Channing – Electric Guitar (Down So Long)
- Josh Clayton – Electric Guitar (Down So Long, Life Uncommon, Do You)
- Vinnie Colaiuta – Bass (Deep Water), Drums (Absence of Fear)
- Flea – Bass (Barcelona)
- Paul Jackson – 12-string Guitar (Life Uncommon)
- Marty Rifkin – Pedal Steel Guitar (What’s Simple Is True, Barcelona)
- Cameron Stone – Cello (Enter From The East)
- Strings on “Absence of Fear” arranged by Jeremy Lubbock
Songwriters on Spirit
Music and Lyrics by Jewel
Patrick Leonard – (Hands)
- Robi Banerji – Assistant Engineer
- David Channing – Engineer, technical assistant to Patrick Leonard
- Sebastian Haimerl – Assistant Engineer
- Ross Hogarth – Engineer, Mixing
- Kevin Killen – Mixing
- Bob Ludwig – Mixing
- Bob Salcedo – Assistant Engineer
- John Sorenson – Assistant Engineer
- Katie Teasdale – Assistant Engineer
Spirit produced by Patrick Leonard and Peter Collins
- Danny Flynn – Stylist
- Jeanne Greco – Artwork
- Troy Jensen – Makeup
- Chris McMillan – Hair Stylist
- Matthew Rolston – Photography
- Brenda Rotheiser – Art Direction and design
- Tracks 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, 1-6, 1-7, 1-8, 1-10, & 1-12 were recorded at Groove Masters Santa Monica, CA
- Tracks 1-1,1-5, 1-9, 1-11 & 1-13a were recorded at Groove Masters, Santa Monica, CA and Oceanway, Hollywood, CA
- Tracks 1-1 to 1-13 mixed at Oceanway, Santa Monica, CA
- All tracks were published by WB Music Corp./ Wiggly Tooth Music, ASCAP (all rights administered by WB Music Corp.)
- except ‘Hands’ published by WB Music Corp./ Wiggly Tooth Music, ASCAP (all rights administered by WB Music Corp.)/ No Tomato Music, ASCAP (all rights administered. by WB Music Corp.)
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