After the success of her debut disc, Pieces of You, and her book of poetry, Jewel still has plenty to say. In fact she, couldn't even fit all of her good-hearted positivism on the CD, so she littered the liner notes with quotations and affirmations like, “We are loved beyond our ability to comprehend.” Not a bad message, right? Frankly, it's tough to criticize such sincerity on songs such as, “What's Simple Is True” and “Absence of Fear.” But one has to question whether Jewel's songs offer anything profound or substantial, or instead are simply a litany of nice thoughts. Musically, Spirit reveals a more polished Jewel, perhaps a result of her collaboration with composer/producer Patrick Leonard, who has worked with Madonna. There's plenty to like on this feel-good outing, once you get beyond her occasional forays into psycho-babble.
John J. Kelly