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Acid Tongue

Jenny Lewis

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iTunes Review

With basic tracks cut as close to live as possible, including the lead vocals, the Rilo Kiley singer’s second solo album expresses a raw excitement, strongly supported by an enviable guestlist and the impressive sonics of Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, CA, where the recording for Neil Young’s After the Goldrush and Nirvana’s Nevermind once took place. With those ghosts in the air, Lewis set out to capture a performance, and that she does. Elvis Costello adds his coarse edge for a duet of “Carpetbaggers.” M. Ward adds his peculiar guitar to “Pretty Bird.” The Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson joins for the title track. Despite these high-ranking names, the spotlight is strongly on Lewis who sings with even greater elasticity and authority, as evidenced by the swooping theatrics of “Black Sand,” the funky PJ Harvey-like seductress moves behind the eight-minute epic “The Next Messiah,” and the perky chirpiness she infuses into “Sing a Song for Them” and the cello-violin supported, gospel-tinged “Trying My Best to Love You” (also featuring a vocal from Zooey Deschanel). Lewis manages to vary her attack without ever losing focus.

Customer Reviews

An incredible transition

With her debut, Rabbit Fur Coat, in 2006, Jenny Lewis showed us her slower, countrier side. Now, with her sophomore album (sans the Watson Twins), Jenny brings a broader, more experimental offering to the table. It largely sounds like her and her friends having fun, which might stem from the way it was recorded: all analog. That aspect makes it an intimate treat in an of itself, but Jenny's voice is always the cherry on top. From Elvis Costello on "Carpetbaggers" to Johnathan Rice on "The Next Messiah," the tracks are diverse, dynamic, and as well-written as anything she's ever recorded. "See Fernando" is a lyrical goldmine, and "Acid Tongue" is a simply stunning. It'll be interesting to see where Jenny Lewis goes from here, and if she can top herself yet again. She is certainly an artist I have enjoyed following for the last several years, and will continue to as both she and Rilo Kiley grow bigger and better.

Don't miss it.

Jenny Lewis asks a bit more of her listeners than most singer-songwriter, but an open ear will find that she gives more too. On her debut solo album, Rabbit Fur Coat, Lewis demonstrated a knack for crafting sparse, lean songs that don’t need all the fireworks of pop-song production to affect their impact. On Acid Tongue, she’s maintained the careful craftsmanship that made the songs on Rabbit Fur Coat so evocative and arresting, while stretching out her sound. The country influence is still there, but blues and funk have been called into the room too. From the perfectly bare title track to the live wire that is Jack Killed Mom, there are no missteps here. Acid Tongue is as sophisticated as it is easy. That Ms. Lewis can cover so much emotional and sonic territory without overwhelming her self or the listening (The Next Messiah is a MEDLEY pushing the NINE MINUTE mark) is a true testament to her talent as a performer and songwriter. Listen up.

massive disappointment

After her sublime solo debut and Rilo Kiley's underrated and under promoted major label effort 'Under the Blacklight,' this album comes as a major disappointment. The songs feel like sketches and the production feels amateurish, too much reverb and it all sounds like it is being pumped through a worn out amp. I am sure all of this was intentional but ultimately it is distracting, cheap sounding, and does her beautiful voice a severe disservice. I am all for cutting songs live without overdubs or artificial polish but there is no need to compromise the tonal quality of the instruments or Jenny's voice just for the sake of honky tonk atmospherics. Listen to the production work Joe Henry did on Bettye Lavette's "I've Got My Own Hell To Raise" to hear our bare bones production can still sound warm, textured and rich.

Biography

Born: January 8, 1977 in Las Vegas, NV

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Born in Las Vegas in 1977, Jenny Lewis is a popular indie rock singer/songwriter known for her work as the primary vocalist of Rilo Kiley as well as her solo albums, guest appearances, and duo with boyfriend Johnathan Rice. A former child actress, she helped launch Rilo Kiley in 1998 with fellow musicians Blake Sennett, Pierre de Reeder, and Dave Rock (who was later replaced by Jason Boesel in 2001). Lewis steadily developed her own vocal style, drawing from the sly country twang of Loretta Lynn,...
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Acid Tongue, Jenny Lewis
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