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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
The Voyager
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 19 May 2017
Unmissable for anyone who has enjoyed her previous work, this is as good as her work with Rilo Kiley and as well as her solo and collaborative work (Watson Twins and Jonathan Rice - both highly recommended). An album where you are not attempted to reach for the skip button for at least one track is a rarity. This is a truly excellent collection and I must assume that the two reviewers who rated the album one star had put on a different album by mistake.
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on 1 August 2014
Jenny Lewis has a rich and strong back catalogue of albums, recordings and collaborations. Perhaps surprisingly this is just her second official ‘solo’ outing having shared billing on albums with The Watson Twins and boyfriend Johnathan Rice. Much has been made of Lewis’ time to make this record, with recent interviews citing insomnia and personal issues delaying the recording process. Indeed, Lewis was at one stage in the habit of releasing one record each year back to back. The time taken over writing this album has clearly paid off and it is one of Lewis’ most coherent albums, particularly when compared to the still excellent Acid Tongue.

Lyrically, Lewis still has it. ‘Head Underwater’, perhaps one of Lewis’ finest openers, details her personal struggles and battles with insomnia, whilst ‘Late Bloomer’ (a personal favourite) sets out a story involving a trip to Paris, a girl called Nancy and much candour. ‘Love U Forever’ has a lyrical complexity that goes beyond a lovesick ballad and, as ever, Lewis combines a happy façade with darkness. This works well with the up-beat and summer feel of the album, which also sees songs such as ‘Aloha and the Three Johns’, inspired by her touring bands visit to Hawaii on the Acid Tongue tour, pickup from many of the themes on ‘I’m Having Fun Now’ and the latter half of ‘Under the Blacklight’. ‘Slippery Slopes’ even begins in a similar style to Rilo Kiley’s last album. Elsewhere, ‘She’s Not Me’ is one of the best pop songs of 2014 and sounds like an instant classic. Lead single ‘Just One of the Guys’, originally performed during the Jenny and Johnny tour of 2010/11, is infectious and cool, backed up by a humorous video worth checking out.

Some criticism has been levelled at Ryan Adams’ production (namely in a piece by the NME) which seems to point to a ‘polished’ and almost over produced final product. Indeed, Adams insisted on only a few takes for each song and refused to allow Lewis to listen back to what they had recorded. However I would disagree with this criticism and see The Voyager’s sound as a logical progression from Under the Blacklight, Acid Tongue and I’m Having Fun Now. Lewis’ style has evolved considerably since the classic Rabbit Fur Coat, and The Voyager represents a further progression. Ending with the title track is a bold move, but it works well here, the song reminiscent of the title track from Acid Tongue, although this time featuring backing vocals from First Aid Kit and lush strings.

Overall, this is an excellent album from Lewis and easily a contender for best album of 2014. It is particularly refreshing to see Lewis’ collaborations behind the scenes, with Adams, Beck and Johnathan Rice in production roles. What results is a confident, strong and coherent set of 10 songs – The Voyager is a joy.
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on 6 August 2014
In my teens,my fav female singer songwriters were Carole King & Joni Mitchell.Now nearly 60yrs old,my fav female singer songwriters are Robyn & Jenny Lewis.These different generation of artists couldn't be more different,but they are just as talented.And this new album of ms Lewis is her best solo work so far.Best song:She's not me.
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on 19 March 2017
I am a fan of very few female artists. I think the original interest in this album came from my love of Ryan Adams. After hearing that he produced and was featured on the album I had a listen. After a few listens this album became one of my favourite albums of last year. Fun, melodic, well layered and just enjoyable to listen to. After listening to this i have enjoyed listening to Jenny's other work. Great album, stream it somewhere and then grab a copy.
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on 26 August 2014
Just a great collection of well written and well sung guitar pop songs. What more do you want? Jenny Lewis sings about her innermost angst, relationship breakdowns etc and still has a way of making the overall feel of the collection upbeat. Highly recommended!
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Jenny Lewis has infuriated, enchanted, annoyed and charmed in equal measure over an illustrious career. The former Rilo Kiley front woman is always worth checking out. When she gets it right ("More Adventurous" and "Rabbit Fur Coat") she is the top of the premier division. In this new album "Voyager" she has enlisted Ryan Adams in most of the production duties although Beck and her love interest Jonathan Rice are also present.

The result is a bright and colourful as the rather lurid trouser suit that Lewis dons on the cover. This is a warm slice of Californian pop music typified by the bouncy "Aloha & The 3 Johns" which could soundtrack a summer vacation. Lewis voice throughout is at its expressive best although the album cannot quite work out what it wants to be. There some great songs present not least the sumptuous "Just one of the guys" where Lewis moves into confessional mode charting the steady tick of her biological clock and recognising that "I'm just another lady without a baby". The rocking power pop of "Slippery Slopes" echoes Rilo Kiley of the "Under the Backlight" era, whilst the title track is the sort of sweet anthem that the OC and other programmes of its ilk would have once drawn upon to great effect. The jingle jangle of "Late Bloomer" is also very endearing and will replay further listens.

The doubts emerge on songs like "Head Underwater" which for its pop sheen actually sounds like Haim. Others like "Love U Forever" suffer from lyrics that feel lifted from a primary school poetry competition not least "when I met you you were just a boy and you were tongue tied from wearing corduroy, when you kissed me I was so annoyed". Indeed at this point the finger of blame should perhaps be firmly pointed at Adams who could have been exercising tighter control at the production desk and not looking to record the female version of his own flawed "Rock n Roll". Jenny Lewis has a great album still lurking inside her and with just more cohesion and unity "The Voyager" might have been it. As a record it certainly has its moments and a number of songs from the top drawer, yet its warm pop radio aesthetic is lacking in grit and rawness. Its fair to say that is is a good album but not a great one
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on 7 December 2014
Apart from a couple of songs, which are instantly catchy, this takes a little while, like any new album, to get into. I am now happily listening to all of the tracks on my car stereo.
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on 16 October 2014
If you know her amazing voice from Rilo Kiley then you'll be pleased to know that theres a very similar vibe here. Kinda Fleetwood Mac with modern irony.
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on 9 October 2014
I have nothing to add to previous reviews. It's a great catchy pop/country/folk album. Jenny Lewis doesn't seem to like jewel cases though?
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on 9 October 2014
Loved this CD. Good vocals sung to catchy pop. For me there is also a hint of indie in some of her songs.
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