Marcella Detroit's first solo album following the demise of Shakespear's Sister is actually the second solo album of her career. It is sad to say that this is somewhat of a disappointing affair. Through her work with Shakespear's Sister (especially on the second album Hormonally Yours), she demonstrated her skill at writing and performing powerful rock/pop songs. This talent is not entirely displayed on Jewel. The CD sounds formulaic and overproduced by Chris Thomas. He seems to steer Marcella into mid-'90s dance grooves, which does not always fit her own distinctive sound. It also means that her incredible guitar playing is buried in the mix. When she is left alone and not "produced," the results are stunning -- her own brand of funky rock. The opening track, "Jewel," is absolutely brilliant, and the highlight of the album. It demonstrates her full vocal range (one of the best in rock) and her ability to write truly beguiling lyrics. In fact, the first four tracks on the CD show great promise; if the rest of the material was up to those standards, the CD would be brilliant. "I Believe," "Perfect World" and the wonderful "Art of Melancholy" are all powerful songs, with great melodic hooks that stick after just one listening. But then the CD slides into songs of very little interest. Her duet with Elton John (also featured on his CD Duets) is pointless, and seems pretty uninspired for a cover version. Other songs, such as "James Brown," "I Want to Take You Higher" and "Cool People," are just not very good. A disappointing CD from a very talented artist.
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AllMusic Review by Aaron Badgley
feat: Elton John