Thursday, September 25, 2008
I Review Jenny Lewis' New Record, "Acid Tongue", After Hearing It.
How do I say this? Uhm…I guess I just say it. I don’t love “Acid Tongue.”
Wow. That wasn’t easy. Now, this does not mean I’m finished with Jenny Lewis, not by a long shot, because while I don’t love “Acid Tongue” I like it fine and, further I can respect it. Let’s take Rilo Kiley out of the picture for right now and focus on Jenny the solo artist.
(though, I’ll say this – I like “Under the Blacklight” and I honestly can’t find a reason to dislike it. It’s not “More Adventurous” that’s for sure, but “The Moneymaker” is a jam.)
Jenny Lewis is coming off the triumphant “Rabbit Fur Coat” a, I’ll say it, perfect record. It’s the best record of its kind since “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.” Now, what do you do to follow it? It’s a difficult task and it’s one in which Jenny has not failed completely at, but she didn’t hit it out of the park either.
“Acid Tongue” is uneven. “Rabbit Fur Coat” had a purpose, the songs felt like they belonged together. “Acid Tongue” feels like a Jenny Lewis mix-tape. The primary criticism being lobbed at the record is that it feels as though Jenny Lewis doesn’t know who she is as an artist yet. I don’t agree with that.
I think she knows exactly who she is. She isn’t an artist you can clearly define. If she wants to make a country record, followed by an awesomely weird rock record with her band about LA hookers followed by a kitchen-sink type record covering all of her influences, she’s gonna do it. I respect that. Does it mean that I’m likely to spend a lot of time listening to “The Next Messiah”? Probably not.
There are some really nice moments on “Acid Tongue”, for sure. The title track should be a hit. This is what Jenny does best. It sounds like it would have fit perfectly on “Rabbit Fur Coat.”
I love “See Fernando” and “Jack Killed Mom” and when her voice cracks a bit on “Pretty Bird” I get chills. You also have to love “Carpetbagger”, her duet with Elvis Costello, if for nothing else than Elvis sounds like 70’s Elvis. Punk Elvis. The good Elvis. Which leads me to hope he ditches people like Alan Toussaint as collaborators and records a full-on duets record with Jenny.
So, “Acid Tongue” is okay. It’s not “Rabbit Fur Coat”, but maybe we don’t need a sequel and even though I don’t love it, I’m excited to see what Jenny has in store for round three.