Jenny Lewis started her musical career as the adorable red-headed front woman for indie rock group Rilo Kiely, singing about her Johnny's, her whiskey, her sex and her anxiety. Count her a precursor to a Lena Dunham figure. Writing songs that revealed the troubled stories of the hipster women of pop, giving the ladies a personality and a voice, no longer just Roxannes to be admired from afar by male songwriters.
Lewis' third full-length solo album, The Voyager,
is a spacey (pun intended), toe-tapping work of shining girl-rock. Hear The Voyager in its entirety on NPR's First Listen.
Less roots based and more layered than her previous solo workThe Voyager
is the first album that clearly steps Lewis out of the shadows as backing contributor to artists like Bright Eyes, Postal Service and Elvis Costello and puts her at the front and center of the songwriting.
There's a new maturity, too, on The Voyager,
in the content of the songs, rather than singing about pretty little 15-year-old things she's graduated to singing about engagements, bachelorette parities and reminiscing on those same three-sheets-to-the-wind times that were the meat of her songs in the past.
The chugging single, "One of the Guys" is a song so many women can relate to with it's taunting bridge, "I'm just another lady without a baby," an ode to the female hipster mid-life crisis.With a melody almost identical to Fastball’s ‘90s smash "Out Of My Head," Lewis brings the pop nostalgia and the challenges of the modern woman to a head in the almost Edith Wharton-like tune.
Tracks like "Slippery Slopes," have throwback elements to post-grunge chick rock, the grounding heavy baselines of Hole and The Runaways-lite. Lewis retains all her personality and danceability while delving deeper into the stories she has perfected telling, oscillating from fluffy observations, ("I look terrible in white," "I can see John getting a hand job on the balcony below,") to examining the heavy ending of relationships and weight of life's expectations.