28 August, 2007, 623 am
Filed under: Music, Nouvelle Musique

Upon listening to Under the Blacklight wayyyy too many times over the past week, I feel that I can make a proper evaluation.

1. Silver Lining
I never felt so wicked/As when I willed our love to die
When I initially heard this song, I was more than pleased. It sounds like something off of Rabbit Fur Coat, complete with the Watson Twins (though of course, they’re not on this track). The vibe is perfect. The guitar gets to be a little…I don’t know…funky (but in the best of manners), and the chorus sounds almost pop, but I’ve come to love jamming along. “Silver Lining” is pretty much the new Rilo Kiley’s songwriting at its finest. Think “A Man/Me/Then Jim” or “It’s A Hit” only more radio friendly.

2. Close Call
“She was born on a brightened pier/To a gypsy mother and a bucket of tears”
From the beginning, I think of the 90s alternative scene. The mention of a gypsy makes me think of Vianne Rocher from the novel Chocolat. Generally, “Close Call” is a rich but lonely song; it’s very seasoned, very grand, but the vibe and the lyrics make you feel like you’re standing in your childhood house after you’ve moved all the furniture out and you live somewhere else. This is what I’d call a travelling song, but it’s maybe more for travelling across the European countryside than it is for travelling like, to Wal-Mart.

3. The Moneymaker
“You are the moneymaker/She is yours for the takin’/You know you wanna make her/Show her your moneymaker”
The bass line is sex. The guitar line is even more sex and I love it, but I don’t know about everything put together. It’s the epitome of a rock song, sex, you know, DAYYYNJUHH! but I can’t say the lyrics are good. I can stand “The Moneymaker” for everything except the lyrics, which is why the lyric excerpt here is just Lame. Um, oh yeah, and I hate the bridge.

4. Breakin’ Up
“Here’s to all the pretty words/We will never speak/Here’s to all the pretty girls/You’re gonna meet”
An opener worthy of The Postal Service, seriously. I can’t decide, though, if I feel like a teenybopper listening to this song. I love it, but there’s something about it, perhaps the cliche of breaking up, or those cheesy digital sounds. I like how the chorus kind of turns into funk or something. As a 90s kid who grew up listening to 60s and 70s music only, I definitely appreciate that sound coming from Rilo Kiley (who actually did grow up in the 70s) because you can’t get that kind of satisfaction from indie, really. It feels like Motown.

5. Under the Blacklight
“Somewhere in Laredo/Borders a soft man/Like a black widow/I’ll be crawling/Under the blacklight”
A lyrical brainchild, especially as far as metaphors go, but really, this track’s a pop ballad. I could see this playing on the radio because it’s so typical. You know what I mean…verse, chorus, verse, chorus, verse, optional chorus, more optional verse, bridge, chorus (maybe in a new key), repeat. It’s a pretty song, but it’s so plain and somehow, Jenny Lewis’ voice gets lost and all I can hear is the drum, which, in this song, is not a fun part. No buildup. Come on. i needz sum 4plaeee.

6. Dreamworld
“The wedding bells won’t ring, but she couldn’t care less/You exist when you’re living in a dreamworld”
I honestly didn’t like “Dreamworld” the first time I heard it because Blake Sennett doesn’t sound like himself. He sounds sexy. I think Blake Sennett is sexy no matter what, but his voice doesn’t typically come off that way. He whispers and tugs on your ear in “Dreamworld,” kind of kissing you, and I like it. They should have put this before “Under the Blacklight” because it satisfies the need for foreplay. Actually, they should have put it before “The Moneymaker” because that song is just mindless sex. I also love the whole atmospheric vibe that’s provided by the distant, fading guitar and the ever-present bass line.

7. Dejalo
“Mah mama is an atheist/If I stay out late she don’t get pissed”
Oh, my God, Jenny Lewis, “nuestra” is pronounced “new-ay-strah,” not “new-ehhh-strah.” See, I’m essentially a Spanish dropout/wannabe European and I know that. I know that. I think the funky vibe is sexy, but the chorus is unbearable. The beginning is best–you know, when she says, “I got a mind if you wanna waste it…”

8. 15
“My oh my, you pretty thing/It’s about that time fo’ us to meet/Does your daddy ‘ave a shotgun?”
Oh my God, sooooo groovy. “15” is summer, no question about it. It’s a sunny afternoon that you spend inside on the computer. The lyrics are like a disguised Public Service Announcement, but they’re also awesome. Everything about “15” is creepy, and I love it.

9. Smoke Detector
“I took a man back to my room/I was smokin’ him in bed/Yeah, I was smokin’ in bed/This is what he said”
I put this song in my AIM profile, actually, because it’s fokkin’ hilarious. Jenny Lewis described it as “The Frug: Part II,” and I agree. The vibe for Part II, though, is very sixties, and it almost reminds me of the sing-song playfulness of France Gall’s “Laissez Tomber Les Filles.” Je l’aime.

10. The Angels Hung Around
“I been photographed and painted up/And I been in love only once”
Just like “Silver Lining,” track 10 sounds like it was cut from Rabbit Fur Coat. While I’m not sure that I love this track, it’s got more personal lyrics than the others. It almost sounds like “The Calendar Hung Itself,” except a ton less sexy and without any suggestiveness at all. Actually, I lied.  It’s not like “The Calendar Hung Itself” much at all, except for the fact that it describes the past and how much it hurt.  “The Angels Hung Around” is a real plain track.

11. Give a Little Love
“I keep you close/In my wildest dreams/My rearview mirror/And you’re waving to me/Our last goodbye”
Oh, my GOD. So the first time I heard it, I heard of bad late 80s/early 90s hip-hop. I let Rachael listen to parts of this. I asked, “What does this sound like?” She responded, “It sounds like Mariah Carey or something; who is that?” I told her and asked what Miss Jenny Lewis was thinking, and Rachael replied, “Obviously, she wasn’t.” Seriously, I can’t listen to “Give a Little Love” without feeling cheesy. I guess it’s just one of those songs to sit back and listen to…and laugh along. I know none of Rilo Kiley’s probably seriously pursuing a career in hip-hop, so I’m alright with it.  They wanted to go out with a kick, and they went out with like, a kick in the ass.

Essentially, I liked the entire CD.  Every song had a moment of some kind…even if I was laughing…and I guess because of the ones I loved, I’d say it’s worth buying somewhere like Target or on iTunes, but don’t go somewhere like Barnes & Noble to buy it because they overprice their everything.  Yeah.


4 Comments so far
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After my initial reaction of complete disappointment and abandonment by my life’s idol, I learned to accept the album and even enjoy a few songs. I’ll give you my short evaluation;

Silver Lining and Breakin’ Up are my favorite songs. They’re fun and have traces of the brilliant lyrics that we all knew and loved. They fit well with my mood also, since I am no longer a full-time moper, and can run 9 miles per hour while listening to the end of “Jack Killed Mom”.

I agree with you about the sex and foreplay, by the way. The Moneymaker is indeed.

I find all songs bearable, although I’m a little bothered by the repetitive choruses ( I long for breakdowns like A Better Son/Daughter). All except Dejalo and Give a Little Love. Conny, as optimistic as you are, I see that even you crapped your pants with that one. I felt like I was listening to Light 98 or a mixture of Jewel and Natalie Imburglia singing “Torn”. Dejalo would be lovely without the chorus. I am ethically opposed to random Spanish in English songs except for Enrique Iglesias. And even then….

Jenny continues to be a creative genius to me and I will continue to be faithful even if she decides to sing with Gwen Stefani. I just hope she keeps her style.

Comment by Erika

te amo. feliz cumpleano!!!!!!!

Comment by divya

I love the way you do these reviews. I am going to get this album, because I love Rilo Kiley, and because your review was honest and I feel like I’ll go into it knowing it won’t be my favorite album but worth having anyway.

Comment by Deb

on npr earlier today they were talking about rilo kiley and jenny lewis and the new cd and i thought of you.

Comment by divya

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