Review: Jewel’s Stellar Sophomore Album ‘Spirit’ Shines Again on 25th Anniversary Edition

Spirit (25th Anniversary Edition)
4 out of 5 stars

On November 17, 1998, singer/songwriter Jewel avoided the sophomore slump with her celebrated record Spirit. Expectations were high for the project following the success of her debut album, Pieces of You, which spawned her early hits “You Were Meant for Me” and “Foolish Games.”

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Upon its debut, Spirit immediately earned praise from both critics and listeners. The LP kicked off a new wave of momentum within Jewel’s career that would stretch into the new millennium. Now, 25 years later, the award-winning talent expands the celebrated, career-defining collection of songs.

The 25th anniversary edition of Spirit includes 23 new tracks, including previously unreleased live recordings, demos, and remixes. On the surface, the project may seem like a package crafted specifically for Jewel’s most dedicated listeners. While this new release is sure to appeal to longtime fans, it’s also the perfect starting point for anyone ready to dive into her captivating songbook.

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The album’s original 14 tracks haven’t lost their sparkle and still relay the immense depth and emotion weaved through every line of lyrics. If you haven’t spent time with tracks outside of mainstream hits like “Down So Long” and “Hands,” you’ve overlooked some of Jewel’s strongest, most insightful, and rawest examinations of the human experience.

Next, listeners are swept through a sonic journey constructed by alternate versions of those original tracks, offering an interesting look at each song’s metamorphosis from a working demo to a set list standard. The majority of newly-added tunes are live recordings, which offer a glimpse into Jewel’s immense artistry and vocal mastery, even during her career’s early moments.

There may not be one striking or defining addition that is guaranteed to pull listeners in. Still, the 25th anniversary reissue offers plenty of gems that build upon an already stellar collection of songs. This refreshing revisit of Jewel’s pivotal and gripping record Spirit is a true treasure trove of lyrical gems.

Photo by Dana Trippe, Courtesy of Shore Fire Media

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