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Barenaked - Jennifer Love Hewitt

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Genre: Pop / MP3 Download released 2003-06-27 at Jive

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      12.09.2010 16:50
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      A refreshing change from R&B and electronic pop

      BareNaked is the fourth album by singer/actress Jennifer Love Hewitt, released through Jive Records in 2002.


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      Who?
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      Yep - The busty one from I Know What You Did Last Summer and Ghost Whisperer.

      She was a singer before she found success as an actress. Most people don't know she has a back catalogue [Her earlier albums are Love Songs, Lets Go Bang and Jennifer Love Hewitt] or that she has recorded tracks for many [mainly direct to DVD] films. I read a review somewhere and they summed up her vastly-unheard-of music career nicely "She did pop before pop was cool".


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      Barenaked
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      The album was a big surprise to fans and critics as Jennifer ditched her pop roots and went in the soft rock direction. To give this new sound direction more credibility Meredith Brooks produced the album, wrote every song [apart from the cover of the Kris Kristofferson penned Janis Joplin classic Me and Bobby McGee and Jennifer's solo track 'Stronger'], plays the acoustic guitar, electric guitar and performs on background vocals.

      J-Love co-wrote an impressive eight out of thirteen of the tracks [Barenaked, You, Hey Everybody, Where You Gonna Run To?, I Know You Will, Rock The Roll, Stronger and Avenue Of The Stars].


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      Verdict
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      Simply put: I thinkn that Jennifer Love Hewitt is a better singer/song writer then she is an actress.

      The albums tracks all have strong lyrics which aren't just random words that rhyme thrown together[except #13]; Each song has a message that has meaning for almost anyone. There isn't one track that I skip over and there's only one of them I think of 'background' noise.

      When it comes to the actual music and production I'm not an expert: I know what I like, but am not great at describing all of the aspects. But I know that for the BARENAKED album real instruments were used on all of the tracks, which is different for my tastes, but I think that this adds to the moods of the tracks and elevates the album to another level.


      While I was writing this I didn't know what rating I was going to give this; Jennifer has got the voice, the song-writing is strong, the music is smooth and emotive and I don't skip over a single track, surely this is 5 star worthy? However there are a few tracks where everyone seems unsure whether they're doing simple pop or aiming for a rockier feel and the result is a unauthentic mis-fit. While I can happily listen to them, they do slightly lessen the flow of the album, so I've decided to remove a star.


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      Tracklist
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      1. BareNaked

      The lead single.

      Jennifer tried not to totally alienate fans of her pop material by keeping the lyrics to this simple guitar driven track quiet and uplifting: It details how everyone has those low days where they feel vulnerable. It is a nice enough track, but I don't think it strong enough to launch an album on as it is 'soft' for a rockier album. Sure enough the critics weren't impressed and instantly dismissed the quiet, pretty actress as just jumping on a bandwagon in search of credibility.


      2. Can I Go Now

      The second (and last) single.

      After being shredded apart by the critics, Jennifer released this stronger track which has much louder vocals, however it was too little too late to save the album. This is one of my favourite tracks as you can hear the emotions in the lyrics and music. She's asking her boyfriend if she can give up and leave as all they do is fight.


      3. You

      The album's sole ballad and my favourite track.

      This is the track that really shows how good her vocals are, as is accompanied by a piano and a soft dru beat. The lyrics aren't very unique - she is simply telling someone how sure she is about their relationship and how if tomorrow never came she wouldn't change a thing, but the music and the deep vocals lift the track to another level.


      4. Hey Everybody

      This is pretty similar to 'Barenaked' in both music and lyrics. Basically it's telling how things could always be worse and to cheer up. I do think the firmer vocals make this a bit more authentic than 'Barenaked' though.


      5. Where You Gonna Run To?

      The music and lyrics to this one flow easily, she's asking someone backing away from their problems what they'd do if they came up face to face. The smooth production makes this a standout track.


      6. I Know You Will

      Jennifer's favourite track.

      This is a sultry track and it really suits Jennifer's vocals. "Don't tell me that you won't do me, because I know that you will" she purrs, when I think of Jennifer Love Hewitt, I think young and cute, but she definitely can do sex pot.


      7. Rock The Roll

      I like the music, lyrics and the overall production here and Jennifer applies the necessary force behind the vocals as she warns her boyfriend to stop messing around on her. This is one of the standout tracks, however, the male 'rapping' in the bridge does spoil things slightly.


      8. Stand In Your Way

      Her boyfriend has had enough and wants to leave, but J-Love wants him to stay and tells him that she's gonna "stand in his way", so they'll have to talk and work through their issues. In The music were softer I'd be tempted to call this a ballad, but as it is J's vocals are too assertive. This track would fit in on a country album.


      9. First Time

      The music has a heavier on this track, but she's back to mixing it with lighter vocal and lyrics; She's still happy with her boyfriend and the chemistry is still like it was when she first met him. It's like 'Barenaked' - I don't hate, but it is too light and it doesn't really fit in.


      10. Stronger

      Jennifer wrote this song alone.

      Again; It's almost a ballad, but it's not quite; J's vocals are too loud and assertive. The boy's no good, but it doesn't matter as you're strong enough to get through it. It's wrong of me to prejudge, but I didn't expect this song to be any good seeing as it's a solo effort, so I was really surprised by how strong the lyrics are.


      11. Avenue Of The Stars

      This is the closest the album gets to sounding out-and-out poppy.

      It relates to her dream of making it in Hollywood, whilst everyone tells her that she's bound to fail. Standard tweeny pop lyrics, that is pleasant and worth a listen, but it's not great.


      12. Me And Bobby McGee

      Her take on Janis Joplin's classic.

      Even if you don't like J Love you have to admit that she can sing and the bare-bones production on this track [a bongo drum is the only instrument used] highlights this.


      13. Just Try

      It was a Japanese bonus track when the album was released, but is now offered as part of the general mp3 release.

      You can tell that it wasn't part of the original album - it doesn't seem to fit. All of the other tracks have strong, clear lyrics, but I'm stumped to explain this one; She's telling someone to try, but who and what they're meant to try with is never made clear. OK as background noise, but it is the weakest track on the album.

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