The clock is ticking on The Voyager, California alt-pop songwriter Jenny Lewis’ first solo album in six years. “When I look at myself all I can see, I’m just another lady without a baby,” the 38-year-old former Rilo Kiley front woman sings on “Just One of the Guys,” the album’s lead single about never being able to fit into the indie-rock boys club. In “Head Underwater,” she remains guarded (“I don’t want to bore you with how I feel, but when the walls came down the s- got real”) while hinting at anxiety attacks induced by contemplations of mortality.
That tension roils beneath the surface on The Voyager, which looks back on past travels (“Late Bloomer,” about a teenage sojourn to Paris) and relationships gone wrong (the fabulous “She’s Not Me,” the not-so-good “The New You”) and right (“Love You Forever”).
With flourishes and sweet harmonies, the 10-song collection is so smoothly produced – mostly by Ryan Adams, partly by Beck – that you might not notice the trouble lurking.
It’s a far more successful move into glossy yet substantive grown-up pop than was Rilo Kiley’s 2007 failed Fleetwood Mac move, “Under the Blacklight,” and it’s nice to have Lewis back in action. But The Voyager is not quite the out-of-this-world comeback Lewis fans were waiting for.
– Dan DeLuca, Philadelphia Inquirer