My Favorite Albums of 2014The Voyager / Jenny Lewis
Maybe it's a girl thing, but I drag my feet when it comes to Jenny Lewis. (Note that this is the LAST post in my Favorite Albums of 2014.) She's like the cool girl that everyone else in school adores -- not the homecoming queen, but the smart pretty one with quirky fashion sense. (If this were Heathers, she'd be Winona Ryder.) And, face it, I'm jealous of her indie It Girl status.
And yet, when I finally sit down and listen to her albums, her songs get stuck in my head, and the lyrics eerily reflect my own outlook on life. She spins a world in which everything is tentative, provisional, unreliable, a worldview perfectly reflected by her wary, waifish voice.
I might as well give into it. This is her third album, and I've liked every single one of them. Who am I kidding?
From what I can tell, Jenny Lewis is not the kind of chick that men ignore. Yet here she is, clinging to a relationship in which she does NOT have the upper hand ("bet you tell her I'm crazy") and slowly coming to the realization that the Other Woman's strength is precisely that she is not quite such as handful as our girl Jenny.
"She's not me / She's easy" -- maybe for you guys, that's an easy equation to work out. But for me and my (intentionally or not ) complicated female friends, watching this play out is HARD. I've been there; I've done that. But in the long run....
I love how the harmonies bloom on significant syllables, how the sophisticated guitar line weaves in and out like a watchful friend. It's a world of maybes, couldas, possiblies, and the song has just the right amount of doubt hanging it all out to show.
One of the reasons I hate year-end "best of" lists is that, sometimes, it takes a while for a song or an album to worm into your brain. This Jenny Lewis album is like that. The more I listen, the more I . . . well, like isn't the word. Absorb, maybe, or eventually click into the mindset of it.
Unfortunately, we live in a crowded musical universe where everybody's jostling for clicks, hits, downloads. Jenny Lewis's Indie It Girl profile may help her here; I'm willing to bet that there are another three or four unheralded singer-songwriters that I'll never know about that I would have loved, whose work will never percolate to the top.
But that's no reason not to finally admit it: Okay, Jenny Lewis. You're now officially one of My Girls.