Jenny Lewis Gets Ferocious, Digressive

Sep 24th, 2008 // 12 Comments

From time to time, we like to round up the all-important, all-summarizing last sentences of the biggest new-music reviews. After the jump, we look at the critical reaction to Jenny Lewis’ new solo album Acid Tongue, which just came out in the U.S.

• “The point isn’t that Lewis needs to stick to dirty jokes and jaunty twang (though country seems her natural milieu). There’s more than enough likeable, listenable material on Acid Tongue, yet the effect is nonetheless equivalent to Tiger Woods trying to conquer the mini-golf circuit. In these straitjacketed settings, Lewis’ considerable strengths as a lyricist and performer just aren’t given sufficient room to fully emerge.” (Pitchfork)

• “On the gospel-country title track, she is a wary but hopeful romantic: ‘We were unlucky in love/But I’d do it all again.’ And on the stirring, string-swamped ‘Trying My Best to Love You,’ she compares her love to angels’ wings, diamonds and crystal, taking the measure of happiness in the same way she has always dissected discontentment: ferociously.” (Rolling Stone)

• “Lewis excels in moments of sincere repose, even if she’s less invested in them nowadays. Her version of country has always had a Hollywood tinge, but now it’s overshadowing her indie underdog soul.” (Spin)

• “Acid Tongue is at its best—as on the standout title track—when Lewis keeps her voice and songwriting as unforced and natural as the recording, grounding the album’s many digressions with the heartfelt enthusiasm of a singer who’s exactly where she wants to be.” (AV Club)


  1. Maura Johnston

    I would also like to point out that our own Kate is quoted in an LA Times profile of J.L.:


  2. Anonymous

    As usual, Pitchfork is full of crap. I’ve always been a casual fan, but the new album is really solid. One of the best this year(IMHO). “Carpetbaggers” with Elvis Costello is a great song.

  3. drjimmy11

    Wow- I think Pitchfork just compared country music to “mini-golf?” Amazingly condescending and ignorant, even for them.

    That said, this album is crap. The term “sell out” loaded and almost meaningless at this point, but what else can you call Ms. Lewis trying to turn herself into Sheryl Crowe?

    Just one example of how big a misstep this is for one of the best songwriters of our generation: The Jenny Lewis who wrote “the execution of all things” would never have even considered using such an obvious, time-worn cliche as “unlucky in love.” The so-called “stand out title track,” while listenable, uses this phrase TWICE.

  4. Dead Air ummm Dead Air

    @Maura Johnston: Yea, and Ms. Lewis responded to Kate by going “You don’t get it. Boom, bitch.”

  5. Maura Johnston

    @Dead Air ummm Dead Air: like you’ve never seen someone make an ‘artistic statement’ that has absolutely atrocious aesthetic results.

  6. Anonymous

    I forgot you didn’t like Nirvana either, drjimmy11. This album isn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever heard, but it’s not even close to Sheryl Crow(spelled right) suckery.

  7. Audif Jackson Winters III

    I still like a couple of the tracks on Under the Blacklight. Ooooh … it … feels good to be free.

  8. Tauwan

    @Audif Jackson Winters III:

    Yeah, that album has some jams, with this one being high on the list.

    So yeah, I bought three albums yesterday [TVOTR, KOL, and this], and I have yet to be wowed or really moved by any of them.

    [TV on the Radio just confuses me, as they did before. Don't know why I thought this time would be different] G

    Granted it has only been a day, and sometimes albums don’t necessarily reach out and grab you like whoa post opening, but still, I had high hopes. I mean Rabbit Furcoat was MY SHIT.


    I don’t know if I can jump on your “Jenny Lewis done gone and sold out” bandwagon, but Pretty Bird definitely gave me some Jewel/Sheryl Crow vibes. I thought I was the only one.

  9. Kate Richardson

    @Dead Air ummm Dead Air: Oh, I get it. I just don’t like it.

  10. galactus5000

    I guess the hipsters won’t like me, but dammit, I love both this and Under The Blacklight.

    And yes, I have heard and love the earlier Rilo work as well.

  11. Audif Jackson Winters III

    I bought this without hearing any of the tracks and, wow, not particularly impressed at first blush.

    I thought of this thread when I heard “Pretty Bird”, which does sound a bit Crowesque … except for that turgid, atonal guitar solo which I guess is supposed to dirty it up.

  12. tinylush

    okay so im going to go ahead and say “thank dear jesus for jenny lewis.”

    but seriously.. girls got to step it up. after purchasing under the black light and now acid tongue.. i might think hesitate before buying any albums in the future. im just not really sure that i get it. jenny has an amazingly beautiful voice. i just dont feel it in these newer albums.. i can basically only think of one word.. mediocre. i might not turn it off if its coming from across the room.. but thats still a HUGE might.

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