Words About Music
Jenny Lewis “The Voyager”
Jenny Lewis is a 2000s American indie rock queen. She achieved fame and adoration with her band Rilo Kiley and got the opportunity to tour as part of The Postal Service last year during that band’s reunion tour. With Rilo Kiley’s breakup and her inclusion in The Postal Service at an end, Jenny Lewis found herself free to do whatever she wanted. With that, it was time for a third solo album, six years after the release of her most recent solo album “Acid Tongue.” This new album, “The Voyager,” tackles issues like gender roles, relationships, drugs, and coping with life’s tragedies.
While I’ve never given Rilo Kiley or any of Lewis’ endeavors more than a cursory listen, I do find myself somewhat enjoying and relating to what she is singing about on this album. It is apparent that Jenny Lewis has little-to-no interest in marriage or children, which is often seen as taboo even today, especially for a woman in her late-30s. She longs to be “just one of the guys,” to have the freedom to casually be disinterested in marriage and children without being seen as some sort of monster. That topic comes up several times on this album, as do failed or debauched relationships. “The Voyager” is nothing if not one of the year’s most consistent albums.
Though it is a fun, enjoyable little indie pop record, “The Voyager” almost refuses to go the extra mile to be an excellent album. It is lyrically sound, and Jenny Lewis has a great voice, but something about the instrumentation in nearly every song on here sounds bland. I had the same problem with Haim’s album when I first heard it, though I have grown to enjoy that album a bit more since then. There are rock and pop bands today that have done these sounds in a much more interesting and catchy way for me. “The Voyager” almost reminds me of a combination between Haim, Speedy Ortiz, and Sky Ferreira, the latter two I enjoy much more than I do this album.
“The Voyager” is the kind of album that doesn’t strike me as essential listening, though it is good. Jenny Lewis is a great songwriter, singer, and storyteller. Her unorthodox pop anthems are well written, I just don’t think they’re executed in the best possible way. If you’re looking for a good indie folk/indie pop album then “The Voyager” is one I’d certainly recommend. I imagine there are plenty of people out there who love this album more than I do, as it is equally accessible and creative. Jenny Lewis is a charismatic vocalist that could have a great solo career ahead of her. I was impressed by “The Voyager,” but I hope she continues to improve as the years go on.
SCORE – 7.5
FAVORITE TRACKS – Head Underwater, Just One of the Guys, Slippery Slopes, Late Bloomer, You Can’t Outrun ‘Em, Aloha & the Three Johns, Love U Forever, The Voyager