In honor of the release of Jewel's new studio album, Picking Up the Pieces, let's journey back to one of the absolute best videos of the singer-songwriter.
It has been twenty years since the release of Pieces of You, Jewel's debut album that unquestionably created space for a new brand of female singer-songwriter—not quite late '90s grunge, and certainly not Britney Spears pop. It was confessional. It was groovy. It was the perfect album to sing karaoke to.
Jewel's voice is breathy and a little rough, and there's nothing like trying to sing "Who Will Save Your Soul," when you're three (or six) drinks in and surrounded by strangers.
But the best karaoke version of a Jewel song was, of course, performed by Jewel herself in a video for Funny or Die. In it, Jewel is camouflaged in a larger nose, glasses, and a frumpy suit and given the identity of Karen, a woman who works in frozen foods.
Karen/Jewel then goes to karaoke and sings her own songs in front of a group of strangers who are obviously wow-ed. "It's the first time there's ever been an encore here," some old man says.
"You can be an ugly girl with a voice like that and get laid all the time," a woman from the audience tells undercover Jewel, who laughs and nods, probably knowing deep down in her heart that she is truly beautiful and gets laid constantly.
Jewel, though she's produced more than ten studio albums by now, doesn't ever really seem like a star. Maybe it's because her songs are honest enough and strange enough to make them feel like sitting up late chatting with one of your oldest friends. Or maybe it's just because Jewel never reached the level stardom that erased her weird mannerisms and open honesty.
On Picking Up the Pieces, Jewel is as close to the Karen-Jewel as she has been in years. She's more honest, more folk, and willing to take herself a little less seriously. And that's a good thing.
Kelsey McKinney is a culture staff writer for Fusion.