No. 74: Jenny Lewis, “Acid Tongue”

Kate Richardson / December 9, 2008

In the era of Autotune, Jenny Lewis went analog. Acid Tongue is a testament to the sheer power of true musicianship. An organic, forceful album that feels like the upswing of a good beer buzz, it hops from folk to country to blues with impressive ease and effortless charm, and the title track is its triumphant centerpiece.

Unlike the sprawling, ambitious show-stopper “The Next Messiah,” “Acid Tongue” is a sweet, simple and utterly heartbreaking campfire singalong. With nothing but her acoustic guitar and a couple of backup singers, Lewis strips music to its core and proves that the singer-songwriter format can still pack a mighty punch.

Above all, “Acid Tongue” is timeless. So much of the music we consume now is either explicitly (in the lyrical content) or implicitly (the digital recording process) influenced by modern technology, but “Acid Tongue” exists outside of chronology. Before there was Pro Tools and the Internet and after both are obliterated in whatever futuristic technology apocalypse that awaits us, people were and always will be “a little drunk and lookin’ for company.” It’s a profoundly human song, and by far one of the most honest-feeling tracks I heard all year.

80 ’08 (and Heartbreak)