Jewel the Tortured Waif Poet is gone, dead and buried. The new and improved Jewel is a first class diva with a zest for the Mariah Carey cheap ?ho look.
One reviewer, giving her the benefit of the doubt, called Jewel?s new fashion style a ?tongue-in-cheek sex appeal look,? noting it that was a sharp contrast to her days ?strumming a guitar on a horse.?
The old Jewel looked like she didn?t shave her armpits. She was the Earth-gal who liked to write poetry and warble songs that were boring enough to drop a healthy moose at 100 yards.
These days, it?s not hard to picture a team of Beverly Hills eunuchs individually plucking Jewel?s nose hairs. Apparently, after careful contemplation and serious advice from her Manager Mom, she decided to chuck her serious artsy image for a chance to move into the world of Cher. Maybe she saw that horse-faced Canadian screecher Celine Dion raking in the bucks and decided that it was time for a change.
Whatever her motivation, the new Jewel is a sassy wench who, in all public appearances, looks like she just got a good hot-rock treatment at the local spa.
Normally, Jewel?s desire to walk in the large footsteps of Christina Aguilera would be just a little sideshow of the music biz, another sign that the music industry is best left to coke pushers and shoe designers, except for Jewel?s sainted San Diego roots, her status as an icon of the local music scene.
Her tortured-poet persona was honed on the mean streets of San Diego. Always known for nurturing young poets, the thriving local music scene rewarded her with enough money to live in her car, if she cut out food.
So when our lil? snaggle-toothed honey decided to toss aside the whiny ballads, crank up the drum machine and party like its $1 discount night at Hot Pants ?R? Us, it?s big news in this town.
It?s not like it was some sort of subtle career metamorphosis.
Let?s face it, in the realm of big happening star action, Jewel has been working at Jessica Simpson level, except on the rodeo circuit, where she?s a hot property. And after her role in Ride With the Devil, big-time Hollywood producers were not exactly slamming their fists against tabletops and shouting into their phones, ?Get me Jewel!?
Many keen music scene observers simply assumed her career was taking a slow, inevitable slide into Vegas lounges, where drunken blackjack losers will call for that song, ?You know, the one about God!?
Then suddenly she appears on the cover of Blender dressed in a black corset and slinky pants, giving a little shout out to the 13-year-old boys. And then her new album has a catchy beat straight out of Destiny?s Child, circa 2001.
Transforming from a coffee shop princess with a zest for Sylvia Plath into a disco-luvin? hottie was bound to get noticed. Jewel isn?t exactly Madonna, in terms of image phase-shifting.
Sure enough, the new Jewel has prompted much serious industry discourse.
After soulful deliberation, Union-Tribune columnist Karla Peterson decided Jewel?s decision to jettison all that artist baggage in order to explore the spiritual realm of hip-hop is just okie-dokie.
In a column, Peterson acknowledged that Jewel the Slinky Disco Queen sure sounds like a lousy idea, but she decided the new album?s debut at No. 2 on the Billboard sales chart was ample cause to give a high-five to the hometown gal.
?Factor in surprisingly upbeat reviews and a video in which Jewel dons many skimpy outfits, and you have enough momentum to shake off the Bad Idea curse,? Peterson concluded.
Of course, the album slipped to No. 12 by the second week, and Jewel, of course, denies she is trying to reinvent herself. She told Launch.com her hottie photos are simply ?another playground to me to say ?Here?s cleavage and poetry,?? which is exactly the type of comment that can cause heart attacks in feminists, especially those without cleavage.
Jewel, who has always been deep, made it clear that it?s not easy toeing the line between serious artist and sex-kittenhood.
?I?m not Jakob Dylan,? she told the reporter. ?He can be fabulously handsome and still be taken seriously. It?s easier for a guy to be intellectual and good looking.?
So Jewel?s got woes, big woes.
On ?Intuition,? the first single from the new CD, she sings, ?I?m just a simple girl in a high-tech digital world,? conveying the same emotional sincerity of J-Lo proclaiming she?s still ?Jenny from the Bronx.?
When you have an entourage big enough to kick the crap out of P. Diddy, it?s hard to convince people you?re still a gal who likes to drink Thunderbird on the O.B. pier. Once you put on the Cartier and hire someone to butter your toast, you can?t go back.
But maybe at 29 our breathy vixen has seen a glimpse of the future, and deep down she wants to play the Caesar?s main room when she?s 44.
So now the Manager Mom is just Mom, replaced by a major Hollywood industry player, Irving Azoff. Jewel is in the big leagues now. No more messing around. She?s going for the big one?a one way ticket to Cherdom.