Jem – Finally Woken

The pop world of music has waited for a female star like Jem to hit the scene. As more and more female musicians and entertainers become more concerned with the artificial qualities rather than actually putting together quality music, we finally have a woman who does things a little differently- in way that is both unique and respectable at the same time. For one, the Wales-born and bred Jem is pure talent- having already contributed her writing ability to Madonna’s last single, “Nothing Fails.” And if she is good enough to write for the biggest female diva of all time, there is without doubt, talent abound, don’t you think? But just calling Jem talented, well, that is simply an understatement.

Jem successfully takes various styles of music and incorporates them into her own arrangements. A former club promoter and DJ, one can definitely see where she gets her dance and techno influences from, and she incorporates them into a manner that has not been achieved or mastered before. Her music combines a little bit of everything; you have your singer/songwriter pop elements, acoustic rock, electronic influences, hip-hop, dance and techno beats, plus a little bit of strings for the hell of it. Now, it does sound a little eccentric, but it works, and it sounds like nothing you’ve heard before.

She sings with a certain warmth and sex appeal; an attack from her lips that sounds as if she is seducing you with her voice. Her vocals are sweet, yet strong and they have that late night bedroom whisper feel to them. Couple that with her unbelievably catchy hooks and beats, and you find yourself trapped inside Jem’s musical masterpiece not wanting to get out.

The opening track “They” is the perfect song to open the album, and it provides the proper introduction to Jem. Right from the start, the listener knows they are in for something a little atypical. The song offers the unique style of music that Jem incorporates from so many genres in an upbeat and jump-start sort of way. The song that really stands out is the frenzied track “24”; with the guitars buzzing around her warm and energized vocals, this song just has that glowing feel to it. This track also exhibits the darker side of Jem with its rather ominous lyrics; “And I can’t believe / How I’ve been wasting my time / In 24 hours they’ll be laying flowers on my life / It’s over tonight / I’m not messing / No I need your blessing and your promise to live free / Please do it for me.”

The world of pop divas and mainstream music has waited for the arrival of someone like Jem, her debut album has not disappointed on the grand stage. Finally Woken is catchy enough and has enough pop sensibilities to build a buzz, but it’s the inventiveness and ability to take an assortment of styles of music and mix them together to make them sound so good that will have people talking about it for a long time.

(ATO Records)

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