With her fourth studio album, ON THE LINE, Jenny Lewis dazzles as she navigates life’s hardships. In the five years since releasing THE VOYAGER, Lewis has gone through the end of a twelve year relationship as well as the loss of her once estranged mother. For some artists, a somber approach to an album would be expected and understood. Not for Jenny Lewis. She tackles these heavier topics with a Hollywood glamour that only Lewis can pull off.
The album opens with the breakup. On “Heads Gonna Roll”, Lewis swoons as she reflects on her love lost while also coming to the realization that “everybody’s gotta pay that toll.” Perhaps it was never meant to last; she’s going to keep moving forward. The opening track features Ringo Starr on the drums as well as Don Was on the bass and Benmont Tench on the organ – a group of rock’n’roll heavy hitters for a heavy hitting breakup ballad.
Lewis covers the passing of her late mother on “Little White Dove”. Her mother had a longstanding addiction to heroin, amid other struggles, and they had long been estranged. The two were able to reconnect when Lewis’ mother was in the hospital. “Little White Dove” tells the story of Lewis having to grow up via her display of magnanimity, forgiving her mother for her addiction. Lewis sings, “I’m the heroin.” It’s a simple line, but one that displays her exceptional songwriting capability when displaying honest emotion.
On “Rabbit Hole”, Lewis gives a bittersweet goodbye and final declaration of moving the fuck on. She proclaims, “I’m not gonna go down that rabbit hole with you.” She’s had time for introspection and, after being so closely tied to the same person for over a decade, has found her sense of self again in the process.
Jenny Lewis puts her heart on the line with her latest effort and in doing so she has reached full troubadour status. With her most orchestrated album yet, Lewis’ storytelling is pushed to greater heights, creating captivating daydreams for her listeners to fall into. ON THE LINE is an emotional masterpiece, and perhaps Lewis’ best album to date.