#RealLife is a monthly feature where Consequence of Sound staffers join forces with a diverse cadre of writers to share personal stories inspired by one legendary album. This month we’re tackling Rilo Kiley’s swooning More Adventurous. Some of the stories may be inexorably linked to the album itself; others may just share its themes, tone, and atmosphere. Regardless, they’re all real.
I’m not one for inspirational lyrics. Neither is Jenny Lewis. Perhaps that’s why, when one sneaks into a Rilo Kiley song, it’s a firework rising from scorched earth. “You’ll fight and you’ll make it through,” she sings on “A Better Son/Daughter”. “You’ll fake it if you have to/ And you’ll show up to work with a smile.” I worked at a supermarket the summer I first heard those words, a college graduate in a khaki shirt, swiping Cheetos and cotton balls over a helium-neon scanner. I was discovering insomnia in my parents’ basement, newly single, and questioning the born-again faith that had been so central to that newly ended relationship. And when the sun finally crept through the curtains, a sign that I could stop pretending to sleep, I uttered Jenny’s vague, impractical benediction until I had the courage to somehow show up to work with a smile.
Jenny Lewis’ worst lyrics saved my life that summer.
That’s how good she is.
Her best lyrics saved it countless times after that.
Many of those can be found on Rilo Kiley’s More Adventurous, a pitch-perfect collision of Lewis’ barbed wordplay and the band’s lush instrumentation. That landmark album turns 10 years old today, serving as both a symbol of Rilo Kiley at the height of its powers and a testament to how much the sound of its iconic frontwoman has evolved, from the dance pop of Under the Blacklight to the Nicks-inspired nostalgia of this year’s The Voyager.