Song of the Day #2,311: ‘Head Underwater’ – Jenny Lewis

jenny_lewis_the_voyager

Best Albums of the 10s So Far
#8 – Jenny Lewis – The Voyager

 
Jenny Lewis has taken a couple of stabs at greatness over the eight years of her solo career.

2008’s Rabbit Fur Coat is a folk rock pleasure, charming if ultimately forgettable. Acid Tongue, released in 2008, was a more ambitious effort, dabbling in blues rock and featuring a duet with frequent collaborator Elvis Costello. But it, too, had trouble sticking.

No such problem exists for Lewis’ third solo record, this year’s The Voyager. This album has the goods from start to finish, gliding by with an effortless cool and leaving a trail of memorable songs in its wake.

The Voyager‘s predominant sound is 70s rock — the Laurel Canyon vibe present in Fleetwood Mac’s best work. It’s funny how Fleetwood Mac has emerged as a dominant influence for so many current indie rockers.

Over crisp, gorgeous production (mostly by Ryan Adams), Lewis sings about modern-day relationships and what it’s like to be a childless woman in her late 30s. I could see this record hitting home in a powerful way for women in Lewis’ demographic.

I’m not in that demographic, but the album certainly speaks to me. Her often clever, sometimes poignant, lyrics and infectious but unexpected melodies remind me of the best work of such favorites as Carly Simon and Aimee Mann.

I figured I’d like this album, and wanted to love it, but I never would have guessed it would emerge as one of my favorites of the past decade.

I’ve been wearing all black since the day it started
When I stopped and looked back as my mind departed
I’ve been losing sleep and I cannot sit still
I’m not the same woman that you were used to
I put my head underwater baby
I threw my clothes away in the trash
I stood barefoot on the blazing concrete
I was waiting for the gut of the thunder to crash

I don’t wanna bore you with how I feel
But when the walls came down, the shit got real
I never thought I would ever be here
Looking out on my life as if there was no there there

I messed around with something I always hated
I took a blanket into the bath
Opened my eyes and hallucinated
I took a nap and woke up in the grass

There’s a little bit of magic, everybody has it
There’s a little bit of sand left in the hourglass

My own mortality, I contemplated
Down in the valley I got hypnotized
It left a mark that hasn’t faded
That’s when I realized

There’s a little bit of magic, everybody has it
There’s a little bit of sand left in the hourglass
There’s a little bit of magic, everybody has it
There’s a little bit of fight left in me yet

I put my head underwater baby
I held my breath until it passed
Crossed my fingers and concentrated
I closed my eyes and I was free at last

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One thought on “Song of the Day #2,311: ‘Head Underwater’ – Jenny Lewis

  1. Dana says:

    High praise indeed. And, based on your review and the influences Lewis channels, this sounds like an album to which I need to give my attention.

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