Jenny Lewis' 'Voyage' Was a Long Time Coming, So What Happened to the Singer?
Former Rilo Kiley frontwoman and indie darling Jenny Lewis has been pretty quite over the past few years. But suddenly, she's hitting up the music festival circuit seemingly out of nowhere. A recent interview with the Charleston City Paper reveals that Lewis is finally putting out another solo album, titled Voyage.
This will be Lewis' third solo feature, and her first album in six years. And it's been a long time coming, in every way possible. Lewis says she's been working on these songs for quite a long time:
"I worked on these songs for a long time so there's no stone unturned, lyrically. I thought about them while walking on the mountain near my house I thought about them while flying on airplanes. I thought about them while lying awake with terrible insomnia. I finished them standing in line at Vons. While I was brushing my teeth. I was obsessed. So I feel like they're done. My poem is finished."
As a member of Rilo Kiley, Lewis was often one of the few female voices in the indie scene, and was a formidable force, with lyrics and a voice that conveyed a jaded knowledge beyond her years. Now, nearing 40, she's grown into that knowledge. But music has changed a lot in the past six years. Will Voyager make its way onto the best-of lists or be more of just what we've heard before? There's no way to tell now, but let's travel back in time to the early aughts, when Lewis' lyrics made a deep emotional connection with sad teenage girls like this one...
The Execution of All Things (2002) — "With Arms Outstretched"
The yelling, repetitive chorus! It's still 2002 and this hasn't been done in a slew of mainstream folk-pop songs yet, so it's still just ebullient instead of derivative and grating.
More Adventurous (2004) — "Does He Love You?"
An epic pop narrative complete with an overlong guitar solo, something rarely seen in indie rock. Also, in another move that would predict pop cliches of the future, banjo. My teenage is wrongly believing that I can legitimately relate to the problems in this song.
Under the Blacklight (2007) — "The Moneymaker"
Very '70s revival. The inflection in Lewis' voice makes it just slinky and sleazy enough to be interesting but not overly decadent.
Rabbit Fur Coat (2006) — "Melt Your Heart"
Lewis' solo debut with the Watson Twins — whatever happened to them, anyways? An incredibly depressive and delicate song. "When you're sleeping with someone who doesn't get you/you're gonna hate yourself in the morning." Many tears were shed to this song back in the day.
Acid Tongue (2008) — "Acid Tongue"
Really good '70s folk vibes with this one, and this song in particular still captures the sort of hollow lonesomeness that Lewis is so good at.