‘Late Bloomer’ – Jenny Lewis
I knew Jenny Lewis’ ‘Late Bloomer’ was the best song of 2014 before I’d even finished listening to it the first time.
It’s rare that I “get” a song after just one listen (let alone half of one) but this elegant snapshot of a young woman’s coming of age struck a nerve instantly.
Based on a trip Lewis herself took to Paris in her teens, during which she met a woman seeking out songwriter Lou Barlow, ‘Late Bloomer’ is a 5-minute narrative that feels like it could easily be adapted into a short story or an indie film.
The music and production are rich as custard, like every other song on the album (my second favorite of the year). And Lewis’ vocals are just gorgeous. This album is career-best work for her, start to finish, and ‘Late Bloomer’ is her finest moment on record to date.
Got a Chelsea girl haircut and a plane ticket to Paris
I stayed there with Pansy, he had a studio in the seventh
Lost his lover to a sickness, I slept beside him in his bed
That’s when I met Nancy, she was smoking on a gypsy
She had a ring in her nose and her eyes were changing like mood stones
She said “Open up late bloomer, it will make you smile
I can see that fire burning, in you little child.”
Nancy came from Boston, she got in trouble very often
Cause her parents had forgotten her, she escaped over the pond
She was searching for the writer of a song that made her shiver
She listened over and over on her Walkman cassette
And she said “Come with me late bloomer, for a little while
I wanna see that fire burning, in you little child.”
How could I resist her, I had longed for a big sister
And I wanted to kiss her, but I hadn’t the nerve
We found the writer, he was just some kid from Boston
I was jealous as I watched him talking to her
But man was I astonished, he didn’t look like no Adonis
But as Nancy had promised, he was heavy as lead
And he said “Come with us late bloomer, for a little while
We wanna feel that fire burning, in you little child.”
Forgive me my candor, but I just had to have her
And at the time I didn’t mind sharing with him
We rode in silence, all the way back to the seventh
And I promised I’d write her but I never did
And she said “Au revoir, late bloomer, for a little while
You gotta keep the fire burning, in you little child.”