Should Have Been Bigger: Jewel’s “Intuition”

Mike Wass | May 24, 2020 5:12 pm
Jewel Interview
Jewel talks 'No More Tears' and her upcoming 12th album in our Q&A.

In this franchise, we look back on songs that deserved a little more love and attention.

After releasing three mega-successful folk albums (including 1995’s all-conquering Pieces Of You), Jewel decided to mix things up by dabbling in dance-pop. It’s never easy to switch genres mid-career, but the “You Were Meant For Me” queen made it look effortless — such was the brilliance of “Intuition.” From the ruthlessly catchy accordion hook to the razor-sharp lyrics, the lead single from 0304 ranks as one of the best pop songs of the 2000s.

“I’m just a simple girl, in a high-tech digital world,” Jewel sings at the beginning of the track over Lester Mendez’s pristine production. “I really try to understand, all the powers that rule this land.” From there, the beloved singer/songwriter name-checks everyone from Jennifer Lopez (“they say Ms. J’s big butt is boss, Kate Moss can’t find a job”) to washed-up actors (“you learn cool from magazines, you learned love from Charlie Sheen“). She skewers the cult of celebrity like a chef, gently pushing her anti-consumerism agenda in each verse.

Of course, other superstars have explored similar themes (Pink, for example, took a stab at it a couple of years later with “Stupid Girls”), but Jewel’s folk-singer credibility made her commentary seem all the more pointed. She also doubled down in the video by juxtaposing homeless people with fashion models. In some ways, “Intuition” was the musical equivalent of a Trojan Horse. Jewel’s message was swallowed by the masses mostly because it was camouflaged as a toe-tapping, hip-dipping bop with a majestic chorus.

“Follow your heart, your intuition,” Jewel cooed seductively. “It will lead you in the right direction.” Impressively, “Intuition” became a top 20 hit and radio staple despite being dismissed by blinkered critics as a sell-out (which couldn’t be further from the truth) and understandably ruffling some feathers. Unfortunately, that backlash combined with an unfortunate sync affected sales of 0304 and it produced no other hits. (Justice for “Stand” and “2 Become 1!”) Revisit “Intuition,” a song that most definitely deserved to be bigger, below.

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