Listen Free Now! Jenny Lewis Hits The Mark With “On The Line”

March 25, 2019 • Music, New Release!

She walks the line. Former child star Jenny Lewis is all grown up musically and releases her best, most mature album to date. Scroll down to listen to your two free, full length tunes below review.

Jenny Lewis is a songwriter’s songwriter and a towering figure in the world of indie rock. As the leader of Rio Kelly she has influenced an entire generation, writing the kind of songs that inspire tattoos and mantras. Following the band’s split in 2008, her solo records have cemented her legacy, especially 2014’s triumphant The Voyager. In the half decade since, Lewis has gone through a series of major life changes with the death of her estranged mother due to liver cancer and the dissolution of a 12-year relationship with musician Jonathan Rice.

After taking time to grieve and process, Lewis has returned with On The Line, a thoughtful album filled with meditations on moving past periods of strife. The album is heavy, both in terms of the content explored and the music present, arena-sized rock with a pristine polish. Featuring production from Beck and contributions from Ringo Starr who drums on two of the best cuts, “Red Bull & Hennessey” and “Heads Gonna Roll”, Lewis has made her best-sounding record yet. Instaed of breaking down the handful of songs as per usual here are Ms. Lewis own takes on her superb batch of her tunes. And yes, that is the album cover art she chose of herself in the blue dress with no album title etc. on it and not homepage click bait. Any complaints please take it up with the artist and her record company.

“Heads Gonna Roll”

“I’m a big boxing fan, and I basically wanted to write a boxing ballad. There’s a line about ‘the nuns of Harlem’—that’s for real. I met a priest backstage at a Dead & Company show in a cloud of pot smoke. He was a fan of my music, and we struck up a conversation and a correspondence. I’d just moved to New York at the time and was looking to do some service work. And so this priest hooked me up with the nuns in Harlem. I would go up there and get really stoned and hang out with theses nuns, who were the purest, most lovely people, and help them put together meal packages. The nuns of Harlem really helped me out.”

“Wasted Youth”

“For me, the thing that really brings this song, and the whole record, together is the people playing on it. [Drummer] Jim Keltner especially. He’s played on so many incredible records, he’s the heartbeat of rock and roll and you don’t even realize it. Jim and Don Was were there for so much of this record, and they were the ones that brought Ringo Starr into the sessions—playing with him was just surreal. Benmont Tench is someone I’d worked with before—he’s just so good at referencing things from the past but playing something that sounds modern and new at the same time. He created these sounds that were so melodic and weird, using the Hammond organ and a bunch of pedals. We call that ‘the fog’—Benmont adds the fog.”

Track o2 ) Wasted Youth / 4:31

“Red Bull & Hennessy”

“I was writing this song, almost predicting the breakup with my longtime partner, while he was in the room. I originally wanted to call it ‘Spark,’ ’cause when that spark goes out in a relationship it’s really hard to get it back.”

Track o3: Red Bull And Hennessey / 4:49

“Hollywood Lawn”

“I had this for years and recorded three or four different versions; I did a version with three female vocalists a cappella. Then I went to Jamaica with Savannah and Jimmy Buffett—I actually wrote some songs with Jimmy for the Escape to Margaritaville musical that didn’t get used. We didn’t use that version, but I really arranged the s*** out of it there, and some of the lyrics are about that experience.”

“Do Si Do”

“Wrote this for a friend who went off his psych meds abruptly, which is so dangerous—you have to taper off. I asked Beck to produce it for a reason: He gets in there and wants to add and change chords. And whatever he suggests is always right, of course. That’s a good thing to remember in life: Beck is always right.”

“Dogwood”

“This is my favorite song on the record. I wrote it on the piano even though I don’t think I’m a very good piano player. I probably should learn more, but I’m just using the instrument as a way to get the song out. This was a live vocal, too. When I’m playing and singing at the same time, I’m approaching the material more as a songwriter rather than a singer, and that changes the whole dynamic in a good way.”

“Party Clown”

“I’d have to describe this as a Faustian love song set at South by Southwest. There’s a line in there where I say, ‘Can you be my puzzle piece, baby?/When I cry like Meryl Streep?’ It’s funny, because Meryl actually did a song of mine, ‘Cold One,’ in Ricki and the Flash.”

“Little White Dove”

“Toward the end of the record, I would write songs at home and then visit my mom in the hospital when she was sick. I started this on bass, had the chord structure down, and wrote it at the pace it took to walk from the hospital elevator to the end of the hall. I was able to sing my mom the chorus before she passed.”

“Taffy”

“That one started out as a poem I’d written on an airplane, then it turned into a song. It’s a very specific account of a weekend spent in Wisconsin, and there are some deep Wisconsin references in there. I’m not interested in platitudes, either as a writer or especially as a listener. I want to hear details. That’s why I like hip-hop so much. All those details, names that I haven’t heard, words that have meanings that I don’t understand and have to look up later. I’m interested in those kinds of specifics. That’s also what I love about Bob Dylan songs, too—they’re very, very specific. You can paint an incredibly vivid picture or set a scene or really project a feeling that way.”

“On the Line”

“This is an important song for me. If you read the credits on this record, it says, ‘All songs by Jenny Lewis.’ Being in a band like Rilo Kiley was all about surrendering yourself to the group. And then working with Johnathan for so long, I might have lost a little bit of myself in being a collaborator. It’s nice to know I can create something that’s totally my own. I feel like this got me back to that place.”

“Rabbit Hole”

“The record was supposed to end with ‘On the Line’—the dial tone that closes the song was supposed to be the last thing you hear. But I needed to write ‘Rabbit Hole,’ almost as a mantra for myself: ‘I’m not gonna go/Down the rabbit hole with you.’ I figured the song would be for my next project, but I played it for Beck and he insisted that we put it on this record. It almost feels like a perfect postscript to this whole period of my life.”

Track List:

01 Heads Gonna Roll
02 Wasted Youth
03 Red Bull & Hennessy
04 Hollywood Lawn
05 Do Si Do
06 Dogwood
07 Party Clown
08 Little White Dove
09 Taffy
10 On the Line
11 Rabbit Hole