“If you want to get to heaven/Get out of this world,” sings Jenny Lewis in the title track of her charmer of a third solo album, The Voyager, out July 29. If the song’s acoustic chords and slightly dreamy quality sound familiar — a bit like a certain Mancunian band that ruled during Britpop’s '90’s heyday, there’s a reason for that. Lewis’ producer and one of many collaborators on the new record, the notoriously prickly Ryan Adams, issued a challenge as work on the album drew to a close.
“[He] told me to go home and write ‘Wonderwall,’” she says.
That Oasis assignment is just one of the revelations to come out of Refinery29’s recent conversation with Lewis. It’s been five long years since her last solo release, Acid Tongue, eight since its predecessor with the Watson Twins, Rabbit Fur Coat. Both those albums took Lewis in different directions from the rock orientation of her first gig in Rilo Kiley. But, with that band on indefinite hiatus, she explains, for this album, “there were no rules. Just serving the songs.”
Lewis opens up about the topic that this batch of songs doesn't deal with (for once), and who kept the album “looking forward.” And, with the tenth anniversary of More Adventurous fast approaching, whether there’s any chance of a Rilo Kiley reunion.
The Voyager is in many respects an album about discovery of self and of the world — my favorite track, the rollicking, sparkling “Late Bloomer,” is a journal of a long-ago trip to Paris. R29 managed to do some discovering of our own as we sat down to talk with the forever-irresistible Jenny Lewis.