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Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue | The Come-Down

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Artist: Jenny Lewis
Album: Acid Tongue
Label: WEA/Reprise
Release Date: September 23, 2008

Never before in Jenny Lewis' hyper-extended career has the ruddy-haired front woman sounded so affected. Her folksy, small-town image—which has been trumped by her larger-than-life affiliations—does give way to some semblance of musical authenticity. And, surely, the majority of her most ambitious effort to date, 2008's Acid Tongue, is performed with great gusto. But Lewis can not avoid giving the slightest impression that she is straining for her effects. Sometimes in the grip of great passion you fail to uphold your intent.

Having followed her trajectory from as early as 2001, there is no doubt that the sophomore solo effort Acid Tongue is remarkably innovative as a work of art, and horrifically inaccurate as a piece of history. If Rilo Kiley's aim was once to emulate Fleetwood Mac circa Buckingham-Nicks—you'll have to thank Rolling Stone for that abominable comparison—then Lewis' solo path has taken a leaf directly out of Joni Mitchell and Patti Smith's formidable folk-infused songbook.

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Take, for example, the predominantly languid ballads "Pretty Bird" and "Bad Man's World." These songs are singular pieces of sparse instrumentation that suit Lewis' saccharine, understated melodies. However, ultimately, they simply serve as the second-half flourish amidst a plethora of misdirected slop.

Jenny Lewis - "Pretty Bird"