Please Explain to Me ... Jenny Lewis


"Don't you hate pants?!" (Press Here Publicity).

Now if J. Freedom were writing this it might be called, "Please Explain to Me ... How Somebody Whose First Solo Album I Loved Could Do Something SO Insipid." And for the sake of this argument I'll mostly stick to "Acid Tongue," released today and a strong contender for the second annual "Sky Blue Sky" Award for Outstanding Achievement In The Field of Dullardry.

If you were wondering why you couldn't find a review of the album in today's paper, it's because all the potential reviewers either fell asleep or forced themselves to sleep via a hammer to the cranium by the 43rd time Lewis moaned "black sand" on the album's bore of an opening track.

The rest of the album moseys along in the same doze-inducing fashion. It's aural tryptophan. Actually, that's not true because at least with tryptophan you've had some filling turkey.

"Acid Tongue" is aural malnourishment. There's nothing there. And yes, "Rabbit Fur Coat" is better, but it's still mostly pleasant and pretty. Maybe very pleasant and very pretty at times, but don't we want more from music than that?

Yes, Lewis herself is quite a looker and she rarely wears pants (see above pic; often does wear hotpants), and if you think that doesn't have anything to do with her success, well, you're living in some fantasy world.

But back to the music: Even on "Rabbit Fur Coat" it was the harmonies by the Watson Twins that made for the most interesting moments. Lewis's voice just has no character and it's not like she's an illuminating lyricist, either. It's like she's some lab-created child star who has slowly been molded into the perfect "hip" MOR singer. Hey, wait a second...

By David Malitz |  September 23, 2008; 10:44 AM ET Please Explain
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Hey, WaPo web guys - is there any way I can get an RSS feed for just J. Freedom Du Lac's posts?

Posted by: Eric | September 23, 2008 12:22 PM

She's no Neko Case, that's for sure!

Posted by: Gerald | September 23, 2008 12:51 PM

Never gave Ms Lewis much of a listen in band or solo form, but I have to agree on some sort of Sky Blue Sky award. Perhaps even a whole category Wilco related non-award-awards.

* Most skippable track of the year (in honor of Less Than You Think)
* Dumbest band member firing of the year (in honor of Jay Bennett)
* Most wasted band member of the year (in honor of Nels Cline)

And for the record I still love albums 1 through 4 and tolerate Mermain Avenue stuff.

Posted by: MN | September 23, 2008 1:19 PM

A lab-created MOR singer? That's way harsh, Malitz. I have to disagree at least about her vocals on Rabbit Fur Coat. She totally had some soaring a capella moments.

But I am pro-pants. Jenny Lewis, look into pants!

Posted by: shf | September 23, 2008 2:42 PM

Jenny and Rilo Kiley should be right up my alley, but I've always found her solo stuff and RK to be quite the snooze. Thanks for this.

Posted by: polly | September 23, 2008 2:49 PM

I tired to read your smear article but it bored me too much. Get real.

Posted by: Phil | September 23, 2008 4:06 PM

As part of the target female demographic that RK and Jenny Lewis appeals to, let me just say that i love her voice and yes, her lyrics (seriously, listen to "Rabbit Fur Coat").

Unfortunately this is not her best attempt. Half the songs are good and the other half are just sorta blah. However, i have faith that she'll get better. This is definitely not one of her memorable albums...

Posted by: around | September 23, 2008 4:31 PM

"don't you hate pants?" is the most underrated Simpsons quote ever.

welcome back, juan dixxxxxxxxxxxxon.

Posted by: sean | September 23, 2008 5:57 PM

Jenny Lewis makes sexy in a bland white girl way

Posted by: Charels | September 24, 2008 1:25 PM

Also, Jenny and Blake have reputations for being incredibly pretentious people. Blake was quite snide to me when I interviewed him a couple years ago. Around the same time, Jenny said she was too sick to do a radio interview. Turns out, it was a lie -- she was spotted shopping in a thrift store later that day.

Posted by: Sam Sessa | September 30, 2008 1:11 PM

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