Truly, Truly, Trulyâ€¦.Contagious
On her debut album Jem delivers a mellow, beautifully crafted exploration of those old standards – love and loss. Finally Woken offers a unique mixture of modern day electronic beats juxtaposed against an emotive vocalist. This album is well crafted without being too glossy.It is impossible to avoid Dido comparisons â€šÃ„Ã¬ for Jem also has that ethereal quality to her voice. But the pleasant vocals are only half of this albumâ€šÃ„Ã´s appeal. The interesting arrangements deserve mention of their own. Several songs demand repeated listening simply to decipher layers of lyrics laid down simultaneously – much like thoughts racing through oneâ€šÃ„Ã´s mind.
On “Come On Closer,” the albumâ€šÃ„Ã´s second track, Jem is sensual without being oversexed â€šÃ„Ã¬ a feat not often achieved in pop music. She sings “Keep your eyes on me/Your reaction/To my action/Is what I want to see.” This openness exists in other tracks as well, though most deal with different degrees of separation. “Missing You” details the pain caused by happy memories of a loved one who has died, and the discouragement in not being able to take joy from what was a wonderful time in her life. “Stay Now” is an upbeat commentary about a lover leaving in the morning. It is more about anticipation than actual loss.
Finally Woken deserves a listen if even just to prove the emotion pop music is capable of capturing. Jem opens up, and does so while structuring her songs in fresh ways. Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s difficult to break new ground with all the artists who have come before, but original sounding albums are not impossible. This album reinforces that belief.