So are you scratching your head wondering – Layla, what the heck? Please never forget that Jennifer Love Hewett was a muso first and foremost. This woman has been my celebrity bae for decades – I mean she’s been my bae even before the word bae even existed (yes, I use the word bae) – I mean we’re talking party of five days and you probably all found her in some other way. I Know What You Did Last Summer, Ghost Whisper, The Client List and now Criminal Minds but did you know that she was one of the back-up singers in Martika’s number-one single, Toy Soldiers in 1989
She realised her first album at the age of 12 called Love Songs – it was release only in Japan and she became a huge star in the Japanese pop music market. Jennifer joined the cast of Party of Five three years later and followed up her first album with two others Let’s Go Bang in 1995 and her self-titled album in 1996 although they should have been a huge success ,both albums were competing with the likes of Alanis, TLC, Mariah. Well, 1996 music started to changed Hootie and the Blowfish dominated. Sliverchair had just hit scene. Snoop Dog and Smashing Pumpkins were ever present – The only pop music I can really remember from 1996 ( I was 12 at the time, so forgive me) was The Spice Girls and could you imagine competing with those girls. It would have been a hard task. Jennifer took a break from the music scene but thank god returned three years later.
How Do I Deal for the I Still Know What You Did Last Summer soundtrack. It reached No. 8 in Australia and 59 in the mainstream charts overseas. This was the song that opened my eyes and ears. I even wanted the fur collar velvet coat (actually it might have been black feathers) that she wore in the video clip, either way a wanted it.
After appearing in a few music videos LFO’s Girl on TV, which had been written for her and Hero for Enrique Iglesias, staring alongside Mickey Rouke ( yes, the bad guy was Mickey Rouke) Jennifer signed to Jive Records and release Barenaked in 2002 – one of the best albums of the noughties, for my money. She worked with producer Meredith Brooks of ‘I’m A Bitch’ fame. It was my last year of high school – summer, school was out and this album, along with the Blue Crush soundtrack were my anthems of freedom.
You had everything on there really catchy choruses, break up songs, ballads, song makes you want to jump up and down. Avenue Of The Stars is one song that I am appreciate more as I’m getting older -All about going after you dreams and making these dreams come true
But my favourite is actually a cover of my favourite Joplin song – I’m very protective of my favourite songs when it comes to covers– if someone covers The Doors or Led Zeppelin – I won’t even listen because, just no. It’s closed minded but I’m being truthful. Janis Joplin falls into this category, so when I saw Jennifer had covered Me & Bobby Mcgee – I was a little scared but it turned out to be one of my favourite songs on the album. It’s stripped back, it’s a women that loves the song, in a sound booth and with drums (possibly bongos, but I may be wrong)
In a time when Avril Lavigne and Michelle Branch dominated– Jennifer stood out as one of the best – maybe it was her years in the music industry that shinned through with this album – but it was amazing. If you have it but haven’t listened to it in a while – please dig it up and fall in love with the songs again – if you missed it the first time because you were too young or didn’t think it was the album for you. Go out and find it – I promise you’ll find something on Barenaked that you’ll love.
Jennifer starred in a movie called If Only and sang two beautiful ballads. She also sang a cover of Christina Perri’s song Jar Of Hearts. I hope that Jennifer will one day do an album – I’ll buy it but Barenaked is an album that shaped me. It is an album I’ve been in love with for so long and that’s why I wanted to share it.