My first introduction to Jenny Lewis was in the 1989 campy (literally) comedy Troop Beverly Hills. When I was a teenager, I listened to Rilo Kiley, and when I was in college, her solo forays. Between her acting in TV movies and her music, Jenny Lewis was a voice throughout the background of my formative years, without me even thinking about it.
Jenny Lewis- The Voyager– Warner Bros. 2014
When the single “Just One Of The Guys” dropped a few weeks ago, I liked it, but didn’t love it or know how it would stack up to a whole album. Maybe it was seeing Kristen Stewart in the video; I’m not a fan (but bonus points for Anne Hathaway playing the key-tar). However, after a few listens, The Voyager quickly grew on me.
This record has a very California sound, full of bright guitars and simple drumbeats. I love the guitar solos on songs like “She’s Not Me” and “Slippery Slopes”. The latter of which uses some cool psychedelic effects pedals that go nicely with a lyric about psychedelic mushrooms. Lewis’ vocals, which are really multifaceted, are especially showcased on this one as well. “Late Bloomer” features dusky vocal harmonies, almost reminiscent of Stevie Nicks or other 70s singer-songwriters. The use of these vintage vocals work well bringing the story about a friendship between a teenager and an older girl to life.
The first time I listened to “Slippery Slopes”, I could not help but hear the chord progression of the title track of the Rilo Kiley album Under The Blacklight. However, after listened to both songs a few times, I found much greater differences, and I actually like the solo song better.
All of Jenny Lewis’ lyrics are incredibly relatable because of the way she weaves her words together. From her messages, she appears as a sage, who has gained wisdom from experiences and different perspectives that she has witnessed over a relatively short time.
The way the lyrics tell stories of growing up is like looking back at an old photo album or scrapbook. Piecing together memories through emotions makes the songwriting on The Voyager incredibly powerful.
The melodies are as colorful as a California sunset- or the rainbow blazer that Lewis is wearing on the cover.
I agree totally with Ken Tucker’s review for NPR that calls The Voyager “an album to spend time with”. and there’s still a few hazy, warm weeks of summer left that makes the timing for this one perfect.
Road Jam- Two Roads Brewing- Stratford, CT
I’m pretty particular about fruit beers. It’s not difficult to make one that tastes good, but it is not easy to make one that really stands out among the rest. Two Roads’ Road Jam is definitely a knockout in this category. Red and black raspberries make it sweet and give it a juicy color with a light pink fluffy head. Lemongrass gives it a slight citrusy sour flavor that balances out the sweetness.
The album is fun, but the lyrics give these pop songs more depth. Similarly, the beer has a great color and has a sweet fruity taste, but its dryness makes it drinkable and more than just a one-pint wonder.