Album Review: Jenny Lewis – The Voyager



The Voyager sees Jenny Lewis return with her third solo effort, following many years of ups and downs including lengthy bouts of insomnia and emotional whirlwinds. The release came into question completely, but after going into the studio with Ryan Adams and Mike Viola, Lewis re-recorded the bulk of her album and has now unveiled a triumphant record.

Head Underwater bounces along, and, is lyrically defiant, as Jenny Lewis sticks two fingers up to her struggles, following the death of her estranged father. This opening song setting a mellow tone for a beautifully produced, and,  personal, solo album. The Eagles would be proud of the easy and effortless vibe of She’s Not Me, which has single release written all over it. Certainly, the California singer-songwriter’s vocals fly like an eagle, and her words are meaningful and heartfelt.

Track three is the current single, Just One Of The Guys, which she was of course in the indie-band Rilo Kiley, fronting the group with Blake Sennett, until their demise in 2011. It’s determined, driven and continues the defiance. Meanwhile, Slippery Slopes is a striptease of a song, as Jenny loosens her red-hair and her clothes,  to bring us some guitar sex.

Late Bloomer  is perhaps the resulting bastard child, as it seems several song ideas put together to make one track. I would have liked the chorus and fire breathing off shoots to be the track’s essence, rather than use the almost pedestrian voiced storytelling parts.

You Can’t Outrun ‘Em  is melodic, and it seems we are back in the saddle with those desperadoes, The Eagles. Moreover, The New You is a mature, grown-up recording, name checking the Twin Towers and has cool guitar playing throughout, very much Ryan Adams hallmark, so not surprising perhaps as he produced the album. In fact, more gleeful guitars into the next song, Aloha & The Three Johns.

The last two songs are Love U Forever which seems to borrow The Kinks’ You Really Got Me riff. We end with the title track, The Voyager, and it’s been a reality check for Jenny, escaping her Hotel California.

Mark Watkins


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