Jenny Lewis’ 2014 album The Voyager was my second-favorite album of that year and in my top ten for the decade so far. Just mentioning it here has me wanting to cue it up in my car — I think I’ll do that.
Despite my love for that album, I haven’t spent a lot of time revisiting Lewis’ other solo efforts, including 2008’s Acid Tongue, on which today’s Random SOTD appears. My guess is I’d appreciate this album even more in light of The Voyager.
Jenny Lewis performed this version of ‘Pretty Bird,’ from her lovely Acid Tongue album, earlier this year on Elvis Costello’s Showtime show Spectacle.
First, allow me to offer a belated plug for Spectacle, which ended its run after two seasons. Costello proved a fine interviewer of a host of talented artists and the live performances were stellar across the board. Costello’s own backing band, including former Attractions Steve Nieve and Pete Thomas, sat in on most performances and the mix of him covering his guest’s music and them showcasing their own made for riveting TV.
I’m taking another break between Elvis Costello weeks, but he’s managed to sneak in anyway. Today’s song, a snappy number from Jenny Lewis’ latest album Acid Tongue, is a duet with Costello. And today’s video is a live version of the song from The Late Show with David Letterman, where Costello has always found a home.
I haven’t returned to Acid Tongue (or Lewis’ last album Rabbit-Fur Coat) much since I bought them, but when I do it’s always rewarding. She’s a talented writer and an expressive singer with a sensibility that spans genres and ends up very much her own thing.
I really can’t find a thing wrong with either of Jenny Lewis’ solo albums, but there’s not enough right with them to place them among my favorites. She writes and sings beautifully but her albums don’t have that special something that has me reaching for the repeat button when they finish.
That said, Acid Tongue is a step up from 2006’s Rabbit Fur Coat and features several tracks that I do see myself returning to in the future. One of those is ‘Carpetbaggers,’ a country jam duet with Elvis Costello — his second such appearance this year, following ‘Jailhouse Tears’ with Lucinda Williams.