Jewel – Intuition
Here’s a classic example of one of the most common and potentially fatal pitfalls faced by many artists as they endeavour to keep their careers moving forward: The Dramatic U-turn from Musical Bearings – D.U.M.B. for short. While many have successfully switched lanes, be it a move from pop to country or vice versa (Kelly Clarkson must have punched the air as she hot footed it into Nashville, passing Taylor Swift speeding off in the opposite direction towards Poptown) or benefited from the career boost a well-timed, club-friendly make-over can deliver (Everything But The Girl, Tori Amos and even The Corrs.) But sometimes it just leads to confusion and irreversible career decline, or ‘Doing a Jewel’ as it’s known ‘round these parts.
In late 2002, singer-song writer Jewel was preparing the release of the final single from her third album, This Way. Coming almost a full year after the release of the album, Serve the Ego felt more like an afterthought than an attempt to score a bone fide hit single and Jewel had decided to use its release as an opportunity to conduct a little experiment. She had enjoyed considerable success with her debut album Pieces of Me, powered by the hit You Were Meant For Me, and had so far avoided straying too far from her wistfully folksy wheelhouse. But stating she’d recently gotten into the L.A. club scene (translation: the royalties were starting to filter through and someone was burning it at both ends) Jewel sent Serve the Ego to several dance producers and remixers, curious about what she’d get back. The result was an unexpected no.1 on the US Dance charts and it prompted a major change in direction for her next project.
Fast forward nine months and Jewel was ready to release her fourth album 0304, heralding its arrival with the single, Intuition. While it and the other tracks on the album were hardly four to the floor party anthems or EDM bangers, the overall sound was a far cry from the lilting country-folk ballads and sweet melodies she’d built her early career on. In the song’s lyrics, Jewel states she’s a “simple girl, in a high-tech, digital world” and she rammed the concept home by sporting a dayglo crop-top and a hot-pink skirt on the accompanying artwork. At the time it proved to be all too much for even her most loyal UK fans, where Intuition still stands as her final appearance in the top 100 singles chart, but in retrospect it turns out Jewel was quietly pioneering a polished, crossover pop/rock/dance sound which would eventually reap huge rewards for the likes of Katy Perry and Ellie Goulding.
While Intuition managed to hit no.20 on the US Hot 100, and the album reached No.2, Jewel was experiencing a massive commercial decline. Sales had slipped from 12 x platinum for her debut to 0304 barely reaching gold status and not even a stint on Dancing With The Stars could stop her eventually reverting to type – she now markets herself as a 100% traditional country artist. In the UK, Intuition actually made a lot more sense: remember 72% of singles released here between 1995 and 2005 came with an obligatory Todd Terry remix. When heard alongside Stacie Orrico’s Stuck, Lumidee’s Never Leave You (Uh Oooh Uh Oooh) and Richard X feat. Kelis’ Finest Dreams – all sitting comfortably inside the top 40 when Intuition charted – there’s no denying it wouldn’t have sounded out of place. it’s just a shame nobody actually bothered to playlist it.
Entered chart: 30/08/2003
Chart peak: 52
Weeks on chart: 1
Who could sing this today and have a hit? – The phrasing of the verses and powerful vocal delivery during the chorus literally screams Sia. If our worst fears are indeed true, and Sia has now given away all her best tunes, we are more than willing to give a helping hand compiling her forthcoming covers album.