Monday, August 11, 2014

Album Review - Jenny Lewis / The Voyager

I was late to the party in terms of discovering Rilo Kiley. It wasn't until 'Under The Blackligh't that I first heard them. This was already a departure from 'More Adventurous'. It was less indie, which isn't always a bad thing.  I was ok with it.  I took to it immediately.

Shortly after that Jenny Lewis hit us with her 2008 solo album 'Acid Tongue'.  The Alt-Country tinged melodies were both sultry and dreamy. I was taken with Jenny's delivery.  I went back and revisited her back catalog and I felt with every offering it just kept getting better.

When the announcement was made for the release of 'The Voyager' I could not believe how excited I was.  We've waited 6 years for this and I couldn't wait for the day to get a copy in my hands.

When I first listened something struck me as odd immediately.  At times during the first track, 'Head Underwater',  I would forget that I was listening to Jenny Lewis and start thinking that I was listening to a Mutt Lange production of Shania Twain.  It was extremely polished with an overriding steady drum beat that was attempting to flush out any signs of the phrase Singer/Songwriter.  This was even more surprising for a Ryan Adams produced album.  Still, I was enjoying it, but I kept wishing for a stripped down version.

As the second track hit I immediately thought, "Oh no!"  it was more of the same.  Again, not that it was bad.  It just wasn't what I expected.  There are many albums that I didn't enjoy at first because I loved the prior release so much that I did not give it a chance.  I recently went back in listened to 'Together' by the New Pornographers and fell in love with it after initially shelving it after one listen.

When I got to the third track, The radio friendly first single 'Just One of the Guys' I was feeling a little better.  The production was more in line and it was more of the Jenny Lewis I had hoped for.

When the fourth track kicked in I was feeling a lot better.  'Slippery Slopes' was exactly what I wanted. It was folk inspired with a catchy chorus.  It played to her strengths and stood out immediately.  It was even more ironic that the opening is closely related to 'Under the Blacklight'.

This started my love affair with this album.  Each track slightly different and slightly better.  It was a journey that kept getting better and better.  I found myself repeating songs like 70's AM inspired 'You Can't Outrun 'Em', the funny and alt-country tinged 'Aloha & the Three Johns' and the outright cute 'Love U Forever'.

By the time the last track, 'The Voyager' finished playing I was wondering why the music had stopped.  It couldn't be over already.  I was really just enjoying its company.

It had become a friend.  It's stay was too short.  I have given this many listens since the first and every time the path gets better.  After having listened to this I am totally not surprised that this is a Ryan Adams production.  Jenny said before they started recording Ryan made her listed to Creed through tube speakers at high volume until she realized it was good music.  I love that about Ryan Adams.  He helped her take songs that were born out of the aftermath of the breakup of Rilo Kiley and insomnia and help present them as a positive experience.  I recommend not only giving this a listen but giving it a chance.  Let the songs be your guide and enjoy each leg of the tour. You will not be sorry.

I will see you when the needle drops!



  1. Can't wait to sit in peace and put this record on. Sounds like something that slowly crawls under your skin! Great review :)!

    1. That is a great way to listen to it. I dialed it up on a long drive. I am pretty sure it is one of the reasons I missed one of my turns. Lol. Thank you Gita!


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