I don’t know about anyone else, but I can’t wait to see what Rilo Kiley lead singer Jenny Lewis comes up with next.
Her second solo album comes out this September and I, personally, am stoked. Lewis fronts indie-pop group Rilo Kiley, whose 2007 release “Under the Blacklight” seemed to let down their cult of hipster fans.
The band noticeably strayed from the folk, acoustic sound that made them such a hit.
“Under the Blacklight” was a sex-infused album both lyrically and instrumentally, with everything from Latin to disco to 70s rock to candy-pop sounds.
Add in some serious themes: “Close Call” is about prostitution, “15” is about a way too young girl with a way too old man, “Moneymaker” seems to be as much about stripping as selling yourself for anything.
I thought the album was well titled–with lots of rhythm guitar, upbeat dance-able tracks and Lewis’ sultry tones it’s easy to envision the songs being performed in a dirty, dive bar somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
But the difference to early fans was clear. Listen to something off of “Take Offs and Landings” (2001) like “Plane Crash in C” then a track like the disco-dance track “Breaking Up” and you might wonder if it’s even the same musicians.
It’s not a bad record, I don’t think, despite the fact it’s been called a disappointment. I think it’s just a different kind of record, with different kinds of stories, and frankly, I think they’re good enough musicians to pull it off.
And, as we saw on her first solo album, “Rabbit Fur Coat,” Lewis’s voice is so well-suited for bluesy soulful drawls. It’s sexy and authentic, and a more powerful sound than the breathy, nearly spoken style she often used in their other albums. The songs seem written to fit that without mimicking the Southern gospel of “Rabbit Fur Coat.” Her sound changed and, thus, Rilo Kiley has changed as well.
So needless to say, I am crazy-excited for her next solo record. It’s called “Acid Tongue” (!!), and I’m hoping that’s exactly how it sounds.