Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
Books
Writings:
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  Playboy
  Blender
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
  Recyclables
  Newsprint
  Lists
  Miscellany
Bibliography
NPR
NAJP Blog
Web Site:
  Home
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell
CG Search:
Google Search:

Jenny Lewis [extended]

  • Rabbit Fur Coat [Team Love, 2006] A-
  • Acid Tongue [Warner Bros., 2008] B+

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Jenny Lewis With the Watson Twins: Rabbit Fur Coat [Team Love, 2006]
More autobiographical, less dynamic--that is, a solo debut. Fortunately, the story outlined in the blurred title tune has the virtue of setting the record straight if you take it literally, always a chancy tack. Child actress or no, the Rilo Kiley frontperson says she grew up poor. Last time she heard (or is this just narrative compression?), her mom was living in her car and putting stuff up her nose. And though the singer-with-backup music relies on formula that won't set anyone's life straight, her melodic chops--sweet as a writer, supple as a singer--put the songs across. Dramatic and literary chops also help. A-

Acid Tongue [Warner Bros., 2008]
Like so many solo statements, this one's awash in freedom of choice--string section on demand, a drummer who knows her place, arrangements jenny-rigged beneath verses that could use a groove, and three male notables, including Elvis Costello himself. Only a talent as major as Lewis could half bring it off. But note that it's Rilo Kiley's Jason Boesel whose drums set off the lazy "See Fernando," about a secular saint who'll always buy a sinner a beer, and the wicked "Carpetbaggers", about dirty-booted jezebels tricking innocent young things into helping with the groceries. With Boesel helping, the nine-minute "The Next Messiah" may well convince you that her dad or someone like him was a power-mad con artist. But he fails to deliver "Jack Killed Mom" from the skeptical scrutiny due all songs on oedipal themes since the Doors' "The End." B+