Was there a bigger indie rock crush this decade than Jenny Lewis? Karen O, maybe, but she was always a bit scary. Jenny was the girl next door. The girl you felt like maybe you could get. Of course she was way out of our league, but she made you feel like, well maybe.
And if that were all there was to Jenny and her magnificent LA pop band Rilo Kiley, then it would all be so superficial and kind of sexist in a way. The whole "I like this band because I want to date the lead singer" thing is pretty stupid really. It may be memorable, but it's not indelible. The fact that Rilo Kiley's records were so good is what really made Jenny Lewis the star she is today.
None of Rilo Kiley's records, however, could compare with More Adventurous - one of the truly great pop records of the decade. I think Rilo Kiley get overlooked when these list things come out because of how smitten we all were by Jenny Lewis. Her beauty and charm have probably worked against her when it came to the whole indie cred thing, but the people doing that are missing the point. More Adventurous is a terrific record that boasts some of the best songs of the decade and, from Jenny Lewis, some of the best vocals as well.
More Adventurous lives and dies by that voice. The voice that soars to such great heights (no pun intended) on "I Never", one of the great blue-eyed soul recordings of this or any decade, is the real star of the show. Jenny works it out on a number of tracks here, most notably on the ferocious single "Portions For Foxes". I love that song and I love how vulnerable Jenny seems on it. It's probably the most rock 'n roll song on the record, but it's also the saddest. It's the story of this woman so in need of something to feel that she makes bad decisions. Ultimately, it's triumphant in that Jenny, or the character she's singing about, decides to trump everything, go with her gut and accept and own the choices she makes. It's still so tinged with pathos however that you find yourself wondering what it all means. It's a study in contradiction.
A lot of shit is thrown at Jenny regarding her songwriting, but I think it's fine and on a song like "Portions" or later on the title track it's downright great. It's brave and personal and you can really feel it. I respect that. And though it may have stopped being "cool" to like Rilo Kiley, I really don't care. I wear my admiration for them proudly and think More Adventurous is a pantheon record of this decade and surely one with a great deal of replay value and to me, that counts for a lot.