[6] Jenny Lewis, ‘Completely Not Me’

jenny lewis 2014

This one’s from the Girls season three soundtrack, features Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij and, to me, sounds tenuously related to the version of ‘Morning Bell’ on Radiohead’s Amnesiac and the school choir rendition of ‘See The Morning Star’ that my brother took the lead on. Chiming instruments dredged from the bottom of the ocean. Its fairylike “ooo-ooo-ooo”s are a hit with my girls, but Junior is irritated when Junior 2 starts repeating them, seemingly forever.

Jenny Lewis says ‘Completely Not Me’ is inspired by Teen Wolf. O the vagaries of the artistic process.

[49] Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins, ‘Rise Up With Fists!!’

I didn’t mean to do it, but this is Bright Eyes all over again. Most of them anyway, plus M Ward. OK, that makes this Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins and Monsters Of Folk. Like the album though, it’s Jenny Lewis all over, the Rilo Kiley singer’s pure tones rendering all things beautiful – and slightly sarcastic. Here she takes her sweet heart of the rodeo on a grapple with the buffeting forces of religion and hypocrisy, coming out bloodied but unbowed and with a nice country ballad to show for it. Everyone wins.

Junior says: “It’s quite pretty, isn’t it, Mummy?” She wasn’t talking to me. Conceding it’s “slow”, she turns her attention to the cover, noting that the ladies with Jenny are twins, because “they have the same handbag”.

Best bit: Jenny demurs, leaving The Watson Twins to trill the accusing “not your wife”.

[13] Elvis Costello & The Attractions, ‘Oliver’s Army’

He passed me by, really, only bleeping on my ’80s chart-kid radar with ‘Everyday I Write The Book’, and as The Imposter on ‘Pills And Soap’. That assumed name even got my goat as an eleven-year-old, Lord knows why. I didn’t like him. Something impelled me to buy Spike and Mighty Like A Rose at the turn of the decade, but I’d missed Blood And Chocolate, Imperial Bedroom, all the classic capers. Picked up My Aim Is True for a couple of quid a few years back, but I was The Imposter now.

Everyone knew ‘Oliver’s Army’, though. That earworm of a chorus and those ‘Dancing Queen’ fills. It’s a song that bears close listening as well, with the odd uncomfortable lyric and a whole heap of didactic about our mercenary, careless, imperial doings. Elvis has never been one to let you off lightly – I know now – but lately he’s only demonstrated this with unappealing music. And that old sneer’s a shock to hear on the new Jenny Lewis album.

The tumbling tune is an instant hit with Junior, who enjoys some prominent ivory-tinkling. I mime a bit of piano and confidently tell her, “That’s Steve Nieve.” She’s quick to fire back, “Who’s playing guitar?” Junior’s mum laughs. She’s got me. “Er… – oh, it’s Elvis Costello.” Phew.