It wasn’t obvious at first that Blacklight was the end of RK, but when Jenny Lewis followed it with another solo record and then forming Jenny & Johnny, I despited. Her soulful, alt-country Rabbit Fur Coat and and Acid Tongue were both solid, objectively good records, but they didn’t have the magic alchemy of Rilo Kiley for me.
I chalked up all the propulsive catchiness, killer riffs, and Fleetwood Mac overtones to Lewis’s RK co-writer Blake Sennet and kept Under The Blacklight in my heavy rotation.
Thus, I wasn’t paying all that much attention when Jenny Lewis dropped her lead single for The Voyager, “Just One of the Guys,” in 2014. It had a clever, star-studded video and still had the alt-countryish tinge. I’d buy the LP out of dedication, but it wouldn’t fill the Rilo Kiley shaped hole in my listening habits.
Then, I heard the first song on the LP, “Head Underwater” and understood that I was completely wrong about everything.
I’m not the same woman
That you were used to
I put my head underwater baby,
I threw my clothes away in the trash
Somehow “Head Underwater” does almost everything that Under the Blacklight does in a single song in a tenth of the time. It accelerates from the soulful sunny pop of “Silver Linings,” passing the wistfulness of “When The Angels Hung Around” on its way to the breezy 80s Fleetwood Mac of “Dreams.” I half expect a sweep of wind chimes every time she says “magic.”