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Down to Earth [B&N Exclusive Version]
     

Down to Earth [B&N Exclusive Version]

4.5 2
by Jem
 

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Jem co-wrote Down to Earth with cohorts old and new including hip-hop producer Jeff Bass, one of the two brothers credited with discovering Eminem, and producer Lester Mendez (Shakira, Santana and Nelly Furtado). The album reflects Jem's far-ranging influences including Brazilian percussion on the title track, Detroit Gospel choirs, a Stevie Wonder inspired

Overview

Jem co-wrote Down to Earth with cohorts old and new including hip-hop producer Jeff Bass, one of the two brothers credited with discovering Eminem, and producer Lester Mendez (Shakira, Santana and Nelly Furtado). The album reflects Jem's far-ranging influences including Brazilian percussion on the title track, Detroit Gospel choirs, a Stevie Wonder inspired "Crazy" complete with funky banjo, and the tempestuous Latin-flavored track "I Want You To..." a collaboration originally earmarked for a solo album by turntable whiz Cut Chemist (Ozomatli, Jurassic 5). On the blistering dance-pop tune "Aciiid!" Jem worked with Greg Kurstin (Kylie Minogue, Beck, The Bird and the Bee) and sings in Japanese. The album also includes a moving collaboration with South African singer-songwriter and poet-activist Vusi Mahlasela on the track "You Will Make It," which recalls 9/11and deals with the suffering of loss.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Andrew Leahey
Is Jem a club-ready electronica chanteuse or an easygoing adult contemporary artist? It's difficult to tell on Down to Earth, which furthers the dual personality first shown on Jem's 2004 debut. The refusal to settle on one style often serves Jem well, however, and Down to Earth features a bevy of producers who lend their unique approach to each track. Having created diverse sonic stews for Lily Allen and Kylie Minogue -- not to mention his own project, the Bird and the Bee -- Greg Kurstin stops by to helm "Aciiid!," a synth-driven dance track sung partially in Japanese. Elsewhere, hip-hop producer Jeff Bass (who, along with his brother, helped launch Eminem's career) mashes banjo riffs with funk horns on "Crazy," and Lester Mendez (famous for his work with such Latin artists as Santana, Shakira, and Nelly Furtado) employs spoken word samples from West Side Story during the Spanish-tinged "I Want You To...." Those energetic tracks are some of the album's highlights, but they go head to head with songs like "Got It Good," "And So I Pray," and "On Top of the World," all of which are the stuff of lite FM radio stations. Ultimately, the eclecticism shown within Jem's songs may well be a detriment to the album as a whole, since Down to Earth's mix of producers and genres lacks cohesion. It's also worth noting that nothing here is as immediately ingratiating as "They," and while "It's Amazing" (another Mendez vehicle) does feature a similar chorus -- complete with descending minor chords and repeated iterations of the title -- it can't match the original's spunk and spark. Down to Earth's title depicts Jem as a grounded musician, but its wide-ranging sound suggests something different, as the singer has yet to find a style that fully suits her capabilities. Fortunately, her search for the perfect genre still yields some enjoyable songs, as shown by this album's handful of standout tracks. [A Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition was also released.]

Product Details

Release Date:
09/16/2008
Label:
Barnes Noble Consign
UPC:
0880882163525
catalogNumber:
21635

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jem   Primary Artist
Ken Robinson   Trumpet
Jeff Bass   Bass,Guitar,Keyboards
Lester Mendez   Piano
Jamie Muhoberac   Musician
Rafael Padilla   Percussion
Carmen Rizzo   Musician
Mick Bolger   Trombone,Trumpet,Euphonium,Mellophonium,E Flat Cornet
Johnny Evans   Saxophone
Jeff Atmajian   Piano
Sonus   Strings
Del Casher   Sounds
David Levita   Acoustic Guitar
Jem Griffiths   Vocals
Hiroko Aoyagi   Vocals
Nick Cuchinella   Trombone
Justin Griffiths   Acoustic Guitar
Shinobu Lee   Vocals
Milan, Derrick & The Krew   Choir, Chorus
Carmen Puig   Track Performer
Welsh Choir Of Southern California   Choir, Chorus

Technical Credits

Jeff Bass   Composer,Producer,drum programming,Tracked By
Greg Kurstin   Composer
Lester Mendez   Composer,Producer,String Arrangements,Brass Arrangment,Instrumentation
Eddie Miller   Vocal Engineer
Jamie Muhoberac   Composer
Carmen Rizzo   Composer,Producer
Jeff Atmajian   String Arrangements,Piano Arrangement
Mike Bradford   Producer,String Arrangements,Instrumentation
Kevin Beber   Composer,drum programming
Bryan Cook   Engineer
Joe Wohlmuth   Engineer
Jem Griffiths   Composer,Producer,Vocal Engineer,Poetry Reading
Jem   Composer
Brian Berryman   Engineer,Fader Engineer
Justin Griffiths   Composer
Monica Mendez   Sound Design

Customer Reviews

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Down to Earth 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
AbbyGA More than 1 year ago
It's interesting to me that the editorial review knocks Jem for having a diverse and unique sound - that is exactly what makes her so wonderful to listen to. Every song is a unique creation, centered around Jem's love for deep bass and rhythm, which just happens to be what contemporary listeners love as well. I applaud her talent, and I enjoy every song on this new album just as much as I enjoy her songs on Finally Woken. I also love Jem the person - she signed my CD in an Atlanta debut concert, and I was enchanted by her lovely British accent, her courtesy to each fan, and her lovely smile. I felt as though Jem was the rock star in me, the living embodiment of what we all wish we could do. I am forever a fan, and a supporter of Jem's ability to turn popular sounds into real music, what all pop music should be. All pop music pales in comparison to Jem.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you enjoyed Jem Griffiths' debut album FINALLY WOKEN then there is no reason to dislike her followup. EARTH is a pleasant listen from start to finish. Many of the songs are midtempo chillout electronica numbers, with a few sappy ballads mixed in. Jem embarasses herself with club tune &quot Aciid!!!&quot , sounding like a desperate attempt at street cred. She sounds so much better as a sexy, breezy chanteuse. EARTH's lyrics are of the self-empowerment variety all &quot Kumbaya, let's all hold hands&quot shlock. But overall Jem's sophmore disc is likeable ear candy and better than 90% of the crap that passes off as music nowadays.