Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

JEM

Down to Earth

2008-10-10

This is Welsh born, current LA LA Land dweller, Jem Griffiths’ (JEM) 2nd album, Down to Earth. Her first, Finally Woken (2004), entered the music scene with a clubby groovy bang and much critical praise. If you enjoyed her first release, you’ll like this too….in fact some of these riffs almost sound like actual quotes from the first. If you have never heard her before, think of the more hip-hoppy side of Dido. After hearing her debut, Finally Woken, it’s no surprise that this young girl has been going places. Her songs are being picked up by movies and TV shows left and right. The list of musical and production help that she has received is long and full of serious cool-makers (people who have also worked with Bjork, Beck, Alanis Morrisette, Eminem, Lily Allen & more.) Lyrically, I thought Finally Woken was a bit stronger than this disc…perhaps it showed a bit more vulnerability. Down to Earth’s stories seem to come from someone sitting in a higher place than most humans, making, what comes off as, attempts at inspiring empowerment and self-actualization. While listening, I felt like she was trying to be my motivational speaker. But they function just fine as catchy sing-a-longable pop songs. Really though, it doesn’t matter if you like the lyrics or not. She could be singing “blah blah blah” and it wouldn’t matter because, I believe, Jem’s true strength is in composition. The sound is so entirely cool, hip and danceable. This girl knows how to create and compile sweet sounds (including her own lovely voice) and put them together in such a fantastic way. Layers, echoes, samples, scratches, twists, dings, snaps, and claps all added to sweet harmonies and melodies. If the tunes were about killing puppies, I’d still probably have to shake my hips and sing along. (Don’t worry, they’re not.) Becky Kenny (2008)

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.