I’m fairly certain that this woman can do no wrong, and anything she sets her honeyperfect voice to is 100000x better for it.
I believe it was 2007 that I fell in love with Rilo Kiley. Well, a friend of mine had included “My Slumbering Heart” on a mix that came into my possession almost a year before I bought The Execution Of All Things, and I will admit I listened to that song… often. These were the days before I’d fully discovered the magic of the iTunes store, so it was the Virgin Megastore in Times Square that enabled my first brush with Rilo Kiley album goodness. That particular song also ended up on the soundtrack to a movie I wrote for my creative writing class in exactly six and a half days (49-page screenplay, full soundtrack mixed), and the movie… well, looking back on it, it was inadvertently quite a lot like True Blood except without vampires or werewolves or shifters or anything. It’s still a kickass driving soundtrack, though. (What? My answer to the Death Proof soundtrack? What?)
I remember my delight, too, upon hearing someone use their song “Pictures of Success” in a video for class. Granted, they just used the instrumental bit over and over to underscore their discussion of Why To Study Psychology, but I still felt smug knowing the song. (I always have.) I’d just gotten Take Offs and Landings, and marveled, and it is a great riff. And when my family purchased a stack of CDs to put in a box of treats to be auctioned off for the kids’ theatre company I worked for, I was adamant we ought to include Under the Blacklight, recently released at the time. I was also adamant I just acquire a copy for myself.
Strangely, More Adventurous (arguably the most popular of their albums) was the last to actually come into my collection. I knew some of the songs anyway, but it’s just a delightful collection. Every Rilo Kiley album is a delightful collection, and I say that even knowing that it’s more or less obvious. Especially coming from me, lover of charismaticladysingers fronting mostlymalebands.
Jenny’s solo work is another thing entirely. Rabbit Fur Coat was a birthday present the year it was released, and I listened to it on repeat. I still get shivers of delight at the opening notes, honestly. And sure, the Watson Twins are largely to thank for the beauty that is that album, but even still. I don’t know I’ll ever get over the folksy glory of it, of its sweet, simple-yet-complex songs, of its gentle, unassuming perfection. (Bonus points for including guest vocals from my geek indie god Ben Gibbard on “Handle With Care,” and guest work from her now-partner Johnathan Rice and also Conor Oberst who I saw her open for [well, I didn't actually see him, as I had to leave after she was done, but still].)
And Acid Tongue was for a while one of the only albums I’d loaded onto my laptop’s iTunes, so it’s gotten… a disgusting amount of play. I think my favorite song on that album changes with every listen, and that’s fair; sometimes I’m just having a beautifulgloomy “Pretty Bird” day, sometimes I want the magnum opus that is “The Next Messiah,” sometimes I’m down for the slightly edgy fun of “See Fernando” or “Carpetbaggers.” (And bonus points here, too, for guest work from Johnathan Rice, M. Ward, my love Zooey Deschanel, and the classic Elvis Costello; though critics were a tad bit skeptical, I say bravo. I love when people I love work together.)
And that leads us to Jenny & Johnny, her official collaboration with Johnathan Rice. They’re together together, apparently; this makes me squee like an idiot fangirl, because the only thing better than people I love working together is people who love each other working together. And they just sound so darn cute together. But not cloying-cute, frustrating-cute. More just… perfect cute. “My Pet Snakes,” “Animal,” and “Just Like Zeus” are probably my favorite tracks, at least this week. But it’s all phenomenal.
It probably doesn’t hurt much that Jenny Lewis is also an indie darling, adorable, and the only person on this planet that I will allow to wear a romper ever. She’s just got style in a world where that word hardly means anything anymore.
–your fangirl heroine.