Tag Archives: Indie pop

17: More Adventurous (Rilo Kiley)

Album: More Adventurous
Artist: Rilo Kiley
Year: 2004

1. It’s a Hit
2. Does He Love You?
3. Portions for Foxes
4. Ripchord
5. I Never
6. The Absence of God
7. Accidntel Deth
8. More Adventurous
9. Love and War
10. A Man/Me/Then Jim
11. It Just Is

Rilo Kiley gained some popularity after this album though it was several years before I noticed. It received critical acclaim as well, with one publication naming this the fifth best album of 2004 and another naming It’s a Hit the best song of the decade. As you can see, I love It’s a Hit, but for me it’s not even the best song on the album, though perhaps I would place it second. It’s some of Lewis’s best writing, a great take on criticizing authority figures and the music industry.

Does He Love You? took me a while to warm up to, but I’m more impressed with it upon each listen. While fairly straightforward about adultery, the desperation in Lewis’s voice is palpable and the music fits the mood perfectly. Then we get their biggest hit probably ever, Portions for Foxes. I could sing “Baby I’m bad news!” over and over again.

Ripchord is sung by Blake Sennett. It’s fine, but I’ve never cared for Blake’s voice though he obviously knows how to make good music. I Never is the only true dud for me. While I don’t mind Lewis singing “I Never” 20 times in a row once, hearing the chorus three times really overwhelms me.

The Absence of God is my third favorite song by the band; Lewis has an amazing ability to go from low to high near effortlessly. Accidntel Deth, in addition to having an obnoxious title, is pretty underwhelming musically.

The album then turns it on again with the title track.  Love and War is okay, then we have one of the saddest songs ever in A Man/Me/Then Jim, about a suicide and told in what I think is in reverse order from three different people.  It Just Is is a pretty decent ending, a short song with not much meat but a really pleasant melody.

26: Rabbit Fur Coat (Jenny Lewis and The Watson Twins)

Album: Rabbit Fur Coat
Artist: Jenny Lewis and The Watson Twins
Year: 2006

1. Run Devil Run
2. The Big Guns
3. Rise Up with Fists!!
4. Happy
5. The Charging Sky
6. Melt Your Heart
7. You Are What You Love
8. Rabbit Fur Coat
9. Handle with Care
10. Born Secular
11. It Wasn’t Me
12. Happy (Reprise)

Jenny Lewis is more famous for Rilo Kiley and for starring in The Wizard, but has ventured out into solo work as well. While I’m not a big fan of her second solo album, Acid Tongue, where she invited a bunch of guest musicians to play along with her, I’m a huge fan of her collaboration with The Watson Twins.  There’s a pretty significant “finding religion” theme throughout, and it feels more like a manufactured theme than any genuine transformation for Lewis, but either way, it works for me.

The Watson Twins are an excellent complement to Jenny’s voice, especially on Rise Up with Fists!! and The Charging Sky, two fantastic songs. And for the most part, the lyrics tell pretty good stories. Melt Your Heart and You Are What You Love are a testament to her writing. Unfortunately, the album slides a bit after the latter. The title song, while a pretty painful story about a upper middle-class girl with a shitty mother, has a repetitive rhythm that sounds like a children’s song, and I don’t think it matches the lyrics. The rest of the songs are fine, but don’t stand out for me and I don’t feel motivated to finish the album.

But if you like Rilo Kiley, you have to give this album a listen.