Music News

Rilo Kiley

Jenny Lewis may like the critical cred that came with recording for indies such as Saddle Creek, but the former child actress (she survived Camp Beverly Hills) clearly wants some adult stardom to pair with the kiddie kind. Blacklight, Rilo Kiley's first official CD for Warner Bros., is a blatantly commercial offering, albeit a retro one. If this was 1977, it'd be a surefire smash. How it'll fare in 2007 is anyone's guess.

Producers Jason Lader and Dr. Dre protegé Mike Elizondo provide a backdrop that's spacious and precise, with an aural warmth that disguises its essential sterility. Musically, meanwhile, Lewis divides her loyalties between the old-school L.A. sound of "Dreamworld" and the studio dance music of "Dejalo." Throughout "The Moneymaker," a disco-driven porn-industry nod, and the underage boink tale "15," Lewis ratchets up her sexuality — and she's never been known for her Sister Bertrille imitations.

The combination is smart but calculating: It feels more like a means to an end than art for art's sake. Critical cred's fine, apparently, but banks won't exchange it for cash.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts