Jenny Lewis, the hip and glimmering, sad yet seductive voice behind the indie band Rilo Kiley, who’s on her fifth solo album, has always had a bit of country charm to her music. On her latest album, Joy’All, she digs deep into the heartbreak that makes a good country song, but adds her idiosyncratic alternative touches, with the goal ever to be to get a song to stick in your teeth like caramel chocolate.
She’s always been one to flirt with pop, and wears her heart on her sleeve in a cool poetic fashion on her latest album. With songs, like her single, “Cherry Baby,” where she goes from wanting to be someone’s cherry to someone’s gold, they are feel good songs for a sad and intelligent heart. The lead track, “Pyschos,” which has been playing regularly on my local public radio station, deals with everything from “Jesus and the Devil” to Namaste gurus, and, in the end of the song, is the heart of the record: “How bad do you really want it? / How hard will it make you cry?”
These are songs to make you want and to make you cry. To mourn the breakup and savor the new love, like on the song “Apples and Oranges,” where she sings, “He’s hot and he’s cute / He just isn’t you.” There’s a little humor, often at her own expense. There’s a little bit of dream casting. And there’s a little bit of life advice. Like on the other radio single, where she advises those struggling in life, maybe in their difficult 40s like her: “If you feel like giving up / Shut up / Get a puppy and a truck.”
She has a way at taking what’s best from country music, and making it palatable to indie heads like myself. She has a broad appeal, in fact, which has paved the way for a super successful career as a musician, after her life as an actor when she was young. She knows how to use the spotlight, to shine a light on our tender and hopeful, our jaded and just sides. And for that reason, it is always an event when she releases a record.
This record holds up, and there is not a dud in the bunch. It is almost miraculous, the way that she melds intelligent and chic poetry with her sweet and savory music. This will for certain be some people’s favorite record of 2023, soundtracking their lives full of loss and lust and love, like hers. It’s a great record.
Pre-order Joy’All by Jenny Lewis HERE
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