“Just One of the Guys”- Jenny Lewis (Prod. Beck)
There are several ways to parse an echoed Jenny Lewis admitting “there’s only one difference between you and me, when I look at myself all I can see, I’m just another lady without a baby,” in her blithe new single “Just One of the Guys”. One dovetails with her reference to a perpetually ticking (biological) clock. She’s locked in a bathroom “full of tears,” lamenting the motherhood that alludes her. That said, her past aloofness on the “issue” signals she’s not as concerned as someone on the outside might assume. Another possibility of the admission is she’s comparing herself to a person with a significant other. Playing the comparison game only reminds her of the absence in her own life. But that rather trite sentiment ignores the fact that Lewis has a longtime boyfriend in fellow singer/collaborator Johnathan Rice. A third reading imagines former band Rilo Kiley as her “baby” and when the band painfully dissolved in 2011, that child was forever taken from her.
While the latter seems likely considering Lewis wrote upcoming album The Voyager on the heels of a “creative meltdown,” any “sinister” interpretation ignores the distinctive bounce Beck’s production gives the song. Buoyed by dulled percussion and draped in warm acoustic guitars and mandolin, “Just One of the Guys” is the type of song you expect to float into a final chorus of “da da da’s.” Despite the occasional disappointed line about being unable to fit in with friends, it has an ebullience to it that’s inescapable. Lewis may very well have had dark times in writing the record, but they’ve led to something incredibly bright.