Rilo Kiley & Jenny Lewis

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Take Offs and Landings (1999), 6/10
The Execution of All Things (2002), 6.5/10
More Adventurous (2004), 6/10
Under The Black Light (2007), 5.5/10
Jenny Lewis:
Rabbit Fur Coat (2006), 6.5/10
Acid Tongue (2008), 6/10
I'm Having Fun Now (2010), 4.5/10
The Voyager (2014), 5/10
On the Line (2019), 5/10

Los Angeles-based Rilo Kiley, fronted by vocalist and keyboardist Jenny Lewis and vocalist and guitarist Blake Sennet, play country-pop music for the generation of the economic boom on Take Offs and Landings (Barsuk, 1999), notably in Pictures of Success. The tone turned more nervous and fragile on The Execution of All Things (Saddle Creek, 2002), their artistic peak, notably in The Execution of All Things, Better Son/Daughter, and in one of Lewis' best songs, The Good That Won't Come Out, the archetype of her stream-of-consciousness storytelling.

More Adventurous (Brute, 2004) boasts a much more professional sound and veers decisevely towards the pop ballad (Portions For Foxes) with renewed mass appeal (It's a Hit, which sounds like the Byrds covering Dylan, Does He Love You? in the vein of the ye-ye girls of the Sixties).

Blake Sennet launched a new career under the monicker Elected.

Rilo Kiley's Under The Blacklight (Warner, 2007) further streamlined their concept of mellow living-room muzak that draws from all sorts of genres (country, disco, folk-rock, soul, pop, hard-rock,...). Songs such as Silver Lining, Breakin' Up and The Moneymaker coined the easy-listening version of alt-rock, closer to Fleetwood Mac and Steely Dan than to the 2000s. It is mostly a Jenny Lewis show, arranged to suit the taste of the middle class.

Rilo Kiley's vocalist Jenny Lewis debuted solo with Rabbit Fur Coat (Team Love, 2006), featuring a star-studded cast, sounding at times like a looser version of Neko Case (the catchy and enchanted You Are What You Love, with echoes of the ye-ye girls of the Sixties, the square dance The Big Guns, the sprightly folk-rock singalong The Charging Sky) and otherwise indulging in confessions (the whispered lament Melt Your Heart, the old-fashioned country elegy Rise Up with Fists, and especially the austere folk tale Rabbit Fur Coat, worthy of the folk revival of the Sixties, and the waltzing torch-ballad Born Secular, her best vocal performance).

Lewis followed it up with Acid Tongue (Warner Bros, 2008), that contained more morbid confessions about her turbulent lifestyle in a melodic and mildly psychedelic rock style, from the lament Pretty Bird to the gospel-ish Trying My Best to Love You via the tender and martial Godspeed and See Fernando.

Lewis continued to evolve on The Voyager (Warner, 2014), mostly produced by Ryan Adams, that excels at the vibrant, upbeat, country-rock of Head Underwater and especially at the slow, martial, country-rock of Just One of the Guys. The album evokes latter-day Fleetwood Mac (She's Not Me) and post-psychedelic Byrds (Late Bloomer).

In between she also collaborated with Jonathan Rice on Jenny and Johnny's mediocre I'm Having Fun Now (2010), produced by Bright Eyes' Mike Mogis (Just Like Zeus and Committed).

Jenny Lewis' fourth solo album On the Line (2019) is not much of a surprise: she plays it safe with the catchy Wasted Youth (influnced by Carole King) and Dogwood, the radio-friendly country-rock Red Bull and Hennessy, and especially the Sixties-tinged girl-group imitation Rabbit Hole.

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