Last year when writing about Neko Case in my post about favorite albums of the year, I mentioned Jenny Lewis and how she’d certainly be on the list if she’d had a new album out. Well, this year she does, a duo album with her boyfriend Johnathan Rice, and here it is at the top of my list. Not really surprising for anyone who knows me.
It’s hard for me to resist Jenny Lewis anyway, but I have to say that this album manages to be a step up from her solo work – bringing Johnny in officially (he was a pretty big part of Acid Tongue) was a good move, their voices blending and contrasting nicely throughout all the songs.
At first listen, it seems much like the several other beach poppy albums out this year, but after a few listens the lyrics show Jenny’s signature combination of wit, hope, and ironic unhappiness. Yet despite songs about being broke, in debt, on depression medication, etc., it’s clear that Jenny and Johnny are having fun now, and she’s as happy as she’s ever been. But her depth of understanding that it isn’t always that way gives the album that something extra that, say, Best Coast’s Crazy For You is missing, and reminds that even though Bethany Cosantino is often compared to Jenny, she still can’t match her role model’s lyrical ability.
There aren’t any official videos from the album yet, and somehow the duo doesn’t come across as well on concert videos as they do live, but here are a few of the better ones I could find. The third one is actually not on this album, but a duet they did on Johnathan’s 2007 solo album. They’ve been doing it at their shows in a much slower arrangement, and it’s gorgeous live.