Sunday, September 28, 2008

Feels good to be free

The problem with most break-up songs is that they're, well... pretty depressing. As a whole, musicians tend to focus on the soul-wrenching sense of loss engendered by a break-up rather than the possibilities and sense of freedom it opens up. But when Rilo Kiley sat down to make their most recent album together, Under the Blacklight, the not-so-distant break-up of leads Jenny Lewis and Blake Sennett actually made for their best album to date.

The band has finally figured out something that Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab for Cutie) figured out long ago when he recruited her for his Postal Service projects - Jenny Lewis's voice sounds best paired with a maximalist's penchant for electro-pop. (To me, her voice sounds twee and theatrical when paired with the organic folk and Americana influences she has favored on side projects and earlier Rilo Kiley albums.)

As a result, Under the Blacklight sounds bright, edgy and perfectly balanced - early-era Madonna meeting Liz Phair, but always with that hint of cabaret vibe.

Not incidentally, the album contains the happiest break-up song I have ever heard, "Breakin' Up"(how is there no video for this song?):

And on the same theme, check out "Silver Lining:"

The whole album's good. Listen.

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