When she ditched the band in 2005 and released Rabbit Fur Coat, I totally bought her reinvention as a broke country goddess who was hell-bent on spiritual redemption. In the cover booklet, there’s even a photo shoot of Jenny Lewis wandering through a grocery store and trying to find money to buy milk for the children she definitely doesn’t have. Her new gimmick involved channeling the drama of Loretta Lynn and Dusty Springfield, and I thought it was totally genius.
Somewhere along the way though, she lost me. Her obsession with being a down-on-her-luck country singer seemed like a cheesy extension of her acting days—she was playing a role that didn’t quite fit. I realize that musicians are also performers. Madonna and Lady Gaga, for example, have built their careers around constant reinvention. But Jenny Lewis ain’t Gaga.
OMG I have a lot of revisionist Jenny Lewis thoughts ALL OF THE TIME. It ain’t 2004 anymore. :-/
Wow. So many things “wrong” with this article about Jenny Lewis. How does one come to the conclusion that this picture
is “Jenny Lewis wandering through a grocery store and trying to find money to buy milk for the children she definitely doesn’t have”? What kind of backstory would the author create about Tori Amos and her pig-suckling picture from the “Boys for Pele” booklet?
Despite releasing records with Rilo Kiley, with the Watson Twins, again with Rilo Kiley, solo, and now with her boyfriend Johnny, I’ve never found Lewis to be reinventing herself with each one. (And for the record, I am not a fan of the Jenny & Johnny album.) You can look back at dissect and bash her lyrics all you want, but if you do look back you can also see that her lyrics are pretty consistent and evolving, even going between different projects. She’s even said in interviews that deciding what songs to use for her Rilo Kiley records and her other records had been difficult. Performing some Rilo Kiley songs such as “Under the Blacklight” and “Silver Lining” during her solo shows speaks to that.
I can’t even touch the “Jenny Lewis ain’t Gaga” line with a ten-foot pole. If anything, it seems as if the author of the article is the one who created a gimmick for Jenny Lewis, and when she started to not fit that, he felt the need to tear her down.