Single Review: Jewel “Hands”

Album: Spirit
Year: 1998

Jewel told in 1999 that drawing relaxed her: “drawing self-portraits and working with colors I find really satsifying in a totally different way.” By this time, her marketers were pushing the artistic label hard. She released her poetry, “A Night Without Armour” and had a role in an artsy director Ang Lee’s film, “Ride With the Devil.”

However, it was relateable, realistic angle she was selling in 1998. For me, writing in my blog has been a way to release some tension. If I have had a long, draining day of homework, I’m going to want to hear the most laughable pop song and mock it on my blog. If I’m in a serious mood, I’ll analyze a Tori Amos single (or something along those lines). There are times I write stuff on my blog and only allow myself to see it. I read what Jewel said and I think, “That’s exactly what I do.”

However, the preachy “Hands” attempts to solves the world problems with a hug. In the first verse, she wants to tell the world that everything is going to be ok and not to worry (“If I could tell the world just one thing/It would be that we’re all OK/And not to worry ’cause worry is wasteful/And useless in times like these”). Can’t pay the taxes or meet the rent? According to Jewel’s advice, don’t worry, be happy now…Do do do do…don’t worry be happy now. She sings she won’t give in to unhappiness and rely on her faith (“I won’t be made useless
I won’t be idle with despair/I will gather myself around my faith”).

In the chorus, she tells us her hands are small and she’s aware of the fact. But there her hands, dammit and nobody should ever point how tiny her hands are! She also mentions she is a strong person. (“My hands are small, I know/But they’re not yours, they are my own…and I am never broken”). There’s a metaphor in there somewhere but it’s hidden under poor songwriting. However, all I can gather is she is really defensive about her hands. In all seriousness, perhaps it means insignificance. But the metaphor is not thought-out enough to have any meaning.

In the second verse, she sings about someone who has lost their money but is able to still laugh. She mentions she has had her heart broken recently. However, she knew it wasn’t meant to be. She then talks about fighting for the greater good and in turn, it will also be speaking up for the people who can’t. (“Poverty stole your golden shoes/It didn’t steal your laughter…We’ll fight, not out of spite/For someone must stand up for what’s right/Cause where there’s a man who has no voice”).

In the bridge, she then wants everyone to join together and hold hands. She wants everyone in the circle to wish others were as as santicmonious and perfect as her. Otherwise, the world itself would stop rotating on axis. I’m kidding, but it’s the general idea (“in the end/only kindness matters”). She then goes on to say that “we are God’s eyes/God’s hands/God’s mind” until the end.

“Hands” is hokey but there is something oddly comforting about the music. The arrangement is peaceful and calm. It’s also manages to redeem the single.


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