Alaskan folk-poet turns pop princess

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Jewel – 0304

You really want to hate this album. There’s Jewel on the cover looking like she’s auditioning for Atomic Kitten. The songs include collaborations with Guy Chambers (Robbie Williams) and Lester Mendez (Shakira). Folk-poetess earth mother turns pop diva. What could be more offensive? Except the tunes are stunning, her voice has never sounded better and she makes serious points few others would dare in a pop context. When did you last hear Christina Aguilera or Mariah Carey singing about US foreign policy? An album to reclaim pop music’s lost soul.