More Adventurous

A review of Rilo Kiley’s second album

More stories from Lane Vineyard

Gardening around
May 4, 2015
More Adventurous

Although the Los Angeles based indie rock group Rilo Kiley dismembered more than two years ago, their fun and experimental albums are still cherished by new and old fans. I only recently discovered the band, and immediately liked what I heard. About a week ago, I purchased their 2004 album titled More Adventurous, and was inspired by the meaningful lyrics, avant-garde chord progressions and the fresh vocals from lead singer Jenny Lewis.

The title of the album, named after one of the songs, is shown to be quite literal. Almost every song has a different musical swing or tone, which keeps the listener feeling on the edge of their seat. The album starts out with a fun song titled “It’s A Hit.” The satirical song comments on the incompetence of government, the cynicism in today’s art and the shallowness of the current generation. I really enjoyed this song because it was so clever. Towards the end of the song, there was a high pitched trumpet incorporated, which juxtaposed the classic full band line up.

The next two songs, “Does He Love You?” and “Portions For Foxes,” are more serious than the first. The two are written about love and the sadness that is bound to come along with it.

The fourth song “Ripchord” puts a twist on everything. The song written and sung by lead guitarist Blake Sennett rather than Lewis. The song stands out to me because of it’s raw acoustic sound and faded recording style. You could say that they were attempting to be “More Adventurous” with this one. “Ripchord” along with the track “Accidntel Deth” we’re written about the death of indie rocker Elliott Smith. He was a close friend to the band, so the band expressed their feelings about it through their music. I noticed the songs about Smith were the most experimental on the album, which I think is extremely interesting. I think it’s a way of acknowledging the way life can feel so odd whenever a loved one passes away.

“The Absence of God” is a beautiful little song written about the beauty of living and the hard times that people, particularly poor people, have to face while trying to find happiness. Unlike previous songs released with Rilo Kiley, including the tracks on the album before this one, the song had elements of folk and older country music. The sound of the guitar slides and the acoustic guitar was the perfect touch to add to the relatable lyrics. The title track, “More Adventurous,” also includes folky musical styles. I think my favorite song on the album would have to be this song, because of its lyrics. Lewis sings of heartbreak, marriage, children and the need to be more adventurous.

“A Man/Me/Then Jim” had me as soon as I read the name. The song gives a carefree feeling with its incorporation of ukulele and beachy guitar slides. One factor I really enjoyed with this song was that it was written in the point of view of a melancholy man named Jim, yet was sang by Jenny Lewis. It was confusing the first time I heard it, but I caught it the second time. The track tells the story of a man named Jim meeting his old high school flame at the funeral of an ex classmate, and falling in love with her again.

The final track on More Adventurous is a short but sweet song titled “It Just Is.” The song’s title gave me a very powerful feeling. After listening to the full album, the title made me think of how powerless we are to life and that we just have to work with what we have.

I thoroughly enjoyed More Adventurous and I totally recommend it. If someone is interested in listening into Rilo Kiley, this is the album they should listen to first. You really cannot beat Jenny Lewis’s crisp vocals or their wonderfully odd music. Although there were a couple songs that didn’t stand out to me personally, I still had a very nice appreciation for them. I already find myself nonchalantly quoting songs from the record, and I will continue until I find another masterpiece to listen to frequently.