Jenny Lewis, “The Voyager”
Jenny Lewis has a long history of collaboration—after Rilo Kiley essentially dissolved in 2011 (though officially splitting earlier this year), she toured and recorded with the Postal Service as well as with boyfriend Johnathan Rice. Even before her band was on the rocks, Lewis released one album with the Watson Twins in 2006, and another solo effort with numerous collaborators two years later. After a self-described time of turmoil and uncertainty, it’s fitting that Lewis comes through with what feels like her first true solo album. Her sugary vocals, confessional lyrics, and pop hooks are ever-present, but come with an increased confidence, maturity, and joy, even when singing about heartbreak and loss. Lewis’s songs have always had a storytelling bent, and this album is full of songs that talk about meaningful moments, and how we arrive at them. Lewis continues to evoke the sounds of the past, but finally seems to put a more distinctly personal spin on them, especially on standout tracks like “Just One of the Guys” and title track “The Voyager.” The album does lag a little toward the end—“Love U Forever” perhaps being the weakest track—but there’s still more than enough solid offerings to mark this album as Lewis’s strongest effort since Rabbit Fur Coat.