Review: The Voyager by Jenny Lewis

The Voyager by Jenny LewisFor all the warm fuzzies you get from Jenny Lewis’ third solo effort, there’s actually a lot of work (and emotion) coming into this. The Voyager took five years to write; in those years, her band Rilo Kiley broke up, and her father, who she was distant to for most of her life, passed away. (“You Can’t Outrun ‘Em”, a song about their reconnection, is inevitably one of the most poignant on the record.) But it’s not all strife and heartbreak on the album. One thing Jenny does well is add a dash of sugar to what would usually be a bitter pill, and The Voyager shows that quite well. The sound, too: it’s familiar and timeless indie pop, jangly with a hint of 70s growl here and there. Yeah, not out of place in a Rilo Kiley collection, but there’s something indescribable here – something that yells “Jenny Lewis solo record”. [NB] | 4/5

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“The truth may need some rearranging.”

“(Keep Feeling) Fascination” by the Human League | This song has been stuck in my head for at least a week now, so I really have to post this. And that is all I have to say. Also, happy weekend. [NB]

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“Why be here when we both gonna fake it anyway?”

“Suffering” by the War on Drugs | I did promise to give a good listen to the War on Drugs’ latest album, Lost in the Dream, but apparently I also promised some sort of album review. “Some sort of”, because the album is four months old. But @terribletootsie (sorry, I still don’t know her name) is adamant about it, so, well, hope this works. So. Lost in the Dream. Most of the reviews I’ve seen mention the record’s take on 80s arena rock. I was going, “what exactly do they mean?” and then this song came on and it made so much sense. Yes, the album is about atmosphere, about the nice little subtle details that make this thing perfect with a good pair of earphones. But it gets there by taking that earnest 80s rock template – there’s a good load of Dire Straits on this song in particular – and sprinkling some pizzazz into it. An unexpected guitar riff over here, a nice flourish over there… it’s the sort of album that rewards repeated listening. And maybe a proper vinyl set-up. [NB]

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“Pero kahit na pangit ka, bakit ba?”

“Kahit Na” by Toni Gonzaga | I wish I no longer have to explain myself whenever I blog about a song that’s decidedly not, err, credible. I imagine the howls. “Why the hell are you writing about Toni Gonzaga?” Why not? This song isn’t new – it came from the same songwriting competition that brought us this Aiza Seguerra track everybody was singing - so when I heard this on the way home one night, it was completely by chance. I remember liking the chorus. It’s a good pop song: dance-y but not annoying. What surprised me was how I immediately knew it was Toni. Was it Rainy’s stories of seeing her perform performing with her at Star City when she was just starting out? Eh. It’s a good chorus, and I don’t want to explain myself any further. [NB]

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“Time passes all too soon.”

“Light Flight” by Pentangle | Because I’m a British broadcasting geek (as mentioned here) I sometimes end up going deep down YouTube for recorded bits of continuity… too much of a turn-off? Anyway, I discovered this song on one of those trips. Pentangle is a British folk group, active in the 60s and 70s. The sound is very much of their time: decidedly analog and very fuzzy everywhere, and all in a good way. This song, in particular, was the theme song to Take Three Girls, a drama series surrounding three girls in swinging London, and the first that the BBC shot and aired in color. Spotted this on one of those YouTube videos (it was a promo on the day of the premiere) and you know the rest. But you’re probably still turned off about me being this much of a geek, so… [NB]

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