Jem – Down To Earth

September 17, 2008

Being a big fan of Welsh singer/songwriter Jem’s 2004 debut, Finally Woken, I was very much looking forward to this follow up, which I found to be a mixed bag. Stylistically, Jem’s music skirts the line between electronica, trip-hop and full on Top 40 pop, and it works best for me the more eccentric and left of center it is, as on tracks like “Aciiid,” on which she seems to channel her inner, albeit radio-friendly, Peaches. She gets a lot of Dido comparisons, mostly owing to her voice, but on Down To Earth, Jem seems to be evoking early 70’s pop and folk, with a heavy helping of the Carpenters (and no, the last track, “On Top Of The World,” is not a cover), all given a modern pop gloss. I wasn’t initially crazy about the first single, “Crazy,” but eventually I warmed up to it, mostly owing to the inspired pairing of a funk guitar riff with a banjo. All in all, Down To Earth is pretty pleasing to the ear without being very challenging, and it’s when Jem’s music has the latter quality that it’s most successful and interesting. This is a solid, mostly entertaining follow up, even if it doesn’t quite follow through on the promise of her debut. Here’s hoping that next time out, Jem takes a few more risks. Standout cuts: “Down To Earth,” “Crazy”, “Aciiid!,” and “How Would You Like It?”

http://www.myspace.com/jem

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2 Responses to “Jem – Down To Earth”

  1. John Says:

    I totally forgot about Jem.

  2. radiondn Says:

    You mean, like you forgot about Dre?

    Yeah, four years between albums for a new artist doesn’t seem like the best plan.


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