As slick and sultry as it is vivid and emotional, Jenny Lewis’ new album ‘On The Line’ could well be the best work of her career. With swaying hips and a fast-beating heart, it captures the full gamut from heartache to sensation.
“It’s a chapter in the whole story, but it’s also a story in itself,” she tells NME. “It begins in a breakup and ends in a rebirth, with all the stuff that happens in between. The record is in near-chronological order.
“You have the songs, those are for everybody. The details of my life are for me to be in control of. Sometimes I share stuff about my personal life and I always regret it. I open up this can of worms and then realise that I can’t put the worms back in the can.”
Watch our full video interview with Lewis above
Lewis’ fourth solo album arrives on March 22 and features an all-star “backing band” including Beck, Benmont Tench, Don Was, Jim Keltner and Ringo Starr. Nabbing a Beatle is something she enjoyed as both a “headfuck” and “rock n’ roll dream”. Esteemed company indeed.
“Beck is extremely thorough, and I don’t have to worry if he hasn’t thought of it already, because he thinks of everything,” Lewis continues. “He’s very meticulous, but also very vibe-y. I don’t move around music in the same way. He really knows his shit but he doesn’t force it on you.”
The album also features Ryan Adams, who co-produced the record too. Last month, Adams denied accusations made by several women of sexual misconduct, manipulation and abuse. Phoebe Bridgers and Adams’ ex-wife Mandy Moore were among those who spoke out against him. Lewis then issued a statement on how she was “deeply troubled” by the allegations but “stood in solidarity” with the accusers. Now, she just wants to take pride in the music as her own.
Asked how she felt about releasing an album featuring Adams’ contributions, Lewis replies: “It’s a tough situation and I felt a lot of things. It has certainly been on my mind, but ultimately it’s my record. They’re my songs and this is a piece of the puzzle of my entire career.
“It sucks, man. It’s really upsetting, but I do think that a conversation is occurring about power dynamics in music. I think it’s positive that we’re having a dialogue, so let’s have the dialogue openly and figure out a solution. Let’s identify what isn’t cool.”
Beyond the music, our conversation meanders to cover pretty much everything. Fun fact: Jenny Lewis has never seen Star Wars (but she knows that “Yoda is cute”) and she hates sci-fi.
“No, I’m into murder!” she confesses. “Not committing it. I’ve never killed anyone. I like murder mystery podcasts, and just podcasts in general. What’s the crazy one about the guy in the South? S-Town! That’s the best one of all.”
If her own podcast were to have a sponsor, she’d most likely “sell out for a plant” such as her “second favourite herb, which is dill”. Perhaps dill could back her upcoming UK tour, during which she’s really hoping to be joined by her Warner Bros labelmate Daffy Duck.
“That came up with the label, unfortunately. We’re trying to figure out how to incorporate Loony Tunes into the show in kind of like a ‘Bez’ context. I can get my tour support to come over here, because it’s really expensive to be on a tour bus – so we’re going to have to get Daffy some Molly.”
And we couldn’t let her go without asking if she’d be game for reuniting Rilo Kiley. The 20th anniversary of their debut EP ‘The Initial Friend’ is coming later this year after all.
“Sure! I did a Postal Service reunion tour a couple of years ago, so I’m open to anything these days. My mantra is ‘Yes’.”
Say ‘yes’ and watch our full and surreal video at the top of the page as Lewis also opens up about life inside Elon Musk’s “liquid chrome” brain, her love of a cute kid’s drawing we found, hanging out with St Vincent and Jeff Goldblum, and a random mention of the menopause.
Jenny Lewis releases ‘On The Line’ on Friday March 22.
Lewis’ upcoming UK tour dates are below. Tickets are available here.
24 July Brighton, UK – Komedia
25 July London, UK – Electric Ballroom
27 July Edinburgh, UK – Queens Hall
28 July Manchester, UK – RNCM Concert Hall