RED ALERT! Our new favourite ginger singer/songwriter is Jenny Lewis, a former child star (yep, she’s that chick in Pleasantville) from Las Vegas with waist-length auburn locks, who now wields a guitar and croons acid tongued lyrics while trussed up in a rainbow patterned trouser suit.
Formerly of indie’s sweethearts, Rilo Kiley, Jenny has just released her third LP, The Voyager, an introspective collection of songs that address what she has called “one of the most difficult periods of my life”.
It took her six years to complete the album, with Ryan Adams and Beck thumbing the levels in production, while she battled personal issues that caused her depression and insomnia.
On first listen, the album seems like a soundtrack for a road trip, with breezy guitars and upbeat melodies, though the title track itself is the most melancholic in sound of the whole CD.
However, listen again and the lyrics are hard to ignore. The opener, ‘Head Underwater’, confronts her problems from the get-go, in blazing honesty with references to her father’s death.
‘Slippery Slopes’ is a tune about the haze of sex, drugs and rock and roll, and there ain’t nothing more rock and roll than ginger hair (cool lyrics here: “I feel it everywhere/Even in my red hair”).
‘She’s Not Me’ is a regretful apology for an affair and ‘You Can’t Outrun ‘Em’ channels a Fleetwood Mac sound.
If anything, you may have heard about the video for ‘Just One of the Guys’ (above), which stars Brie Larson, Anne Hathaway and Kristen Stewart (who is incidentally rocking a copper beach wave look and should definitely keep the ginge in our opinion) as they back up Jenny in her band and drag up, sporting Adidas tracksuits and 118 moustaches.
Though the video is whimsical in tone, the song itself seems like one of the broadest subjects to tackle in three and a half minutes: being a woman in the modern world.
Jenny tackles gender stereotypes, what is expected of her, and her own worries about existentialism and that ticking biological clock. Something of a dark subject for a pop song, but the plinky piano notes keep the sound light.
Jenny Lewis is a contradiction. She’s chosen to push out the darkest music of her career while wearing a suit patterned in rainbows and stars with a matching guitar, so the dreamy melodies and sad stories in this collection begin to make more sense.
It’s an album fit for both a summer’s day BBQ, and for your fireside in winter, because our Jenny is weatherproof, and these are the songs to prove it.
Also, she proves that redheads look super cute wearing her pastel-coloured unicorn-esque suit. So we love her for that, too.
The Voyager is out now and can be bought on iTunes.