Finally we have our hands on those songs, and maybe it's not surprising that six years have brought some change. Produced by Ryan Adams -- as well as Beck, Johnathan Rice, and Lewis herself -- the album shows Lewis shedding some of the rock / country / blues hybrid of 2008's Acid Tongue in favor of more peppy pop. While the recipe is a bit bland for the opening track, "Head Underwater," it comes together brilliantly in "Just One Of The Guys," the album's first single. Featuring Beck, it succeeds in being both infectious and thoughtful. If you haven't seen the music video, watch it here at Zumic. It's hilarious.
"Late Bloomer" is another poppy highlight, this one with a tinge of country. But genres don't confine Lewis in this song, which sees her traverse a range of styles. She opens up with an innocent, wide-eyed tone à la First Aid Kit as she tells about a girl who has just turned 16. Then, taking on the perspective of an older, more experienced girl, Lewis' voice sinks into a devilish growl. "Late Bloomer" is also another great narrative song from Lewis, following up on songs like the title track from 2006's Rabbit Fur Coat. You'll enjoy following it through its storytelling verses, the chorus cleverly changing along the way to reflect the advancing plot.
One of the most energetic tracks is "Slippery Slopes," which opens with a piercing guitar riff and features dissonant beeps and watery, quivering background sounds. The lyrics are also some of the most interesting on the album, telling a story of both hopeful love and feigned ignorance of consequences and "slippery slopes." You might wish some of the album's later songs, like the repetitive "Aloha & The Three Johns" and "The Voyager," would've borrowed from this song's inspiration.
Looking back after listening, Lewis' struggles writing The Voyager make sense. Her writing didn't satisfy her and took lots of revision, but maybe it just wasn't her strongest material, especially compared to the excellent Acid Tongue and Rabbit Fur Coat. Still, The Voyager shines more often than it doesn't, and when it's good, it's really good.
The Voyager comes out July 29th. You can pre-order it from Jenny Lewis' website or iTunes to get instant downloads of the album tracks "Just One Of The Guys," "The Voyager," and "She's Not Me." For more information on Jenny Lewis, including music, news and upcoming tour dates, check out her Zumic artist page.
Jenny Lewis The Voyager Tracklist:
1. "Head Underwater"
2. "She's Not Me"
3. "Just One Of The Guys"
4. "Slippery Slopes"
5. "Late Bloomer"
6. "You Can't Outrun 'Em"
7. "The New You"
8. "Aloha & The Three Johns"
9. "Love U Forever"
10. "The Voyager"
Source: Jenny Lewis Spotify