Rilo Kiley's most recent album, 2004's More Adventurous, prompted Elvis Costello to praise the best lyric writing that I've heard in many a day, Coldplay to invite the band on its 2005 arena tour and a plethora of critics ... more »to vote the disc onto annual best of lists. That album sold 175,000 while Jenny Lewis' solo record, 2006's Rabbit Fur Coat, sold 100,000. Now the gloriously decadent Under The Blacklight, the group's fourth album but first for Warner Bros., focuses even more intensely on what one critic has called lead singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis' tangle of indie pop, torch song and too-cool-for-school cynicism. With Under The Blacklight, Rilo Kiley is ready to shine.« less
Rilo Kiley's most recent album, 2004's More Adventurous, prompted Elvis Costello to praise the best lyric writing that I've heard in many a day, Coldplay to invite the band on its 2005 arena tour and a plethora of critics to vote the disc onto annual best of lists. That album sold 175,000 while Jenny Lewis' solo record, 2006's Rabbit Fur Coat, sold 100,000. Now the gloriously decadent Under The Blacklight, the group's fourth album but first for Warner Bros., focuses even more intensely on what one critic has called lead singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis' tangle of indie pop, torch song and too-cool-for-school cynicism. With Under The Blacklight, Rilo Kiley is ready to shine.
"After the first time I listened to Under The Blacklight, I thought that it was a very good CD, but not up to More Adventurous. After a few listens, I'd rate it as equal to More Adventurous. Some of these songs feel fun but superficial at first, but the more you listen, the more you can feel the care that went into the songcraft. R&B touches enhance "Silver Lining" and "Give A Little Love." Songs like "Under The Blacklight" and "Smoke Detector" show their alt-country leanings, even though they are danceable. "15" is a gorgeous song with Memphis soul in it. "The Angels Hung Around" is like power folk. And the single "Moneymaker" is a little more rocky than it seems originally - I find it to be irresistible. There's really no power pop gem like "Portions For Foxes" on Under The Blacklight, but it was hard for me to complain. Even the weakest song, "Dejalo," manages to give 80s synth a modern coolness. Lyrically, there's a lot about sleazy sex, but the lyrics don't get too dirty or profane. Parents will have to decide if it's appropriate for their kids or not. Congrats to Rilo Kiley on a job well done!"
Not overwhelming, but still a band with a consistent career
Andreia Hamada | Sao Paulo, SP Brazil | 08/28/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It's clear Rilo Kiley are testing new grounds, there is a clear shift. To the amazement of many people, it features guitar riffs to pop songs. Of course Rilo Kiley was always somewhat irreverent. But this time they doubled the dose, with a bitter cynicism - a riff of George Harrison? - and a travel through time tunnel back to 70s. Many will find the first four tracks odd and bizarre. They show none of the tender aspects of Rilo Kiley as we know it. No more loving and adorable ballads. But listeners will reach a safe ground at title track and beyond. This new album doesn't sound like the *indie* Rilo Kiley. But mature as it may be, it may not be exactly what fans were waiting for. Somewhere between a good song or another, it lacks the magic and chemistry that mesmerized so many in the past. Anyway, we shall not judge this excellent band by one album. Their career is consistently reaching a higher quality level, so please praise Rilo Kiley!"
Rilo Kiley Returns
Stevens | 09/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The long-awaited new Rilo Kiley album, Under the Blacklight, may not be what same fans expected. A far cry from tracks such as 'My Slumbering Heart' and 'A Better Son/Daughter', this album evokes more R&B tones than were anticipated. Though it may not quite be the Rilo Kiley that many fans remember, the songs on this album attest to the fact that both Jenny Lewis and the rest of the band have stuck to their guns and come up with something new and appealing. My faith in Rilo Kiley is reaffirmed!"
Rilo Kiley is a One Woman Show
S.G.R. Black | Denton, Texas | 08/22/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Indi darlings" no more, Rilo Kiley are under a major spotlight (and major label) rather than a "blacklight". Filter magazine said it best, ""Under the Blacklight" doesn't sound like a Rilo Kiley record. It doesn't even sound like a Jenny Lewis record.", which is a shame because from their past few albums and Jenny's solo debut, a loyal and eager following had been flourishing. At a first cold listen, there'll probably be many folks out there throwing out the word "sell-out" on the table and for once, they MAY be right. However, you must decide for yourself. "Under the Blacklight" isn't just a new direction these guys have taken rather than turn into a brand new band all together and though it's NOT at all a bad ablum, the listener needs to not expect for old-Rilo Kiley to show up anywhere.
If this were the debut of an entirely new and different band with a different name, "Under the Blacklight" would be an awesome pop album but the fact that this record bears the name Rilo Kiley, it's a HUGE disapointment, especially to die hard fans. There's hardly an inkling of a folk sound (save for "The Angels Hung Around) or even a bit of that country twang we're so used to hearing. Instead, you get total pop! Now, I'm not saying pop is bad; I rather enjoy pop. It just needs to be worth my time. Rest assured, the album IS worth it (excluding "The Moneymaker"- bad all around, lyrically and musically; what major miss!). In fact, it's an excellent for what it is.
"Under the Blacklight" uses two different producers here and it definitly shows. Half of the album sounds like "bar/party music" and the other half sounds like a throw back to the 50s ("15") or early sixties ("Smoke Detector"- a modern day "Twist"?). Though, to me, "Dejalo" sounds like a Gloria Estefan dance song and there're bits of hint of disco elements to both "Breakin' Up" and the song, "Under the Blacklight". My inital response to "Dreamworld" was merely luke warm but after a few listens, the song has become illuminated with cool overtones that can't be ignored. This is the song that everone will be quick to say, "Fleetwood Mac"! The only song that even remotely-sort-of sounds like old-Rilo Kiley or at least Jenny Lewis a la "Rabbit Fur Coat", is the opener, "Silver Lining". It's simply gorgeous.
Still, there is an unfortunate aspect of this new album and that's either the under use of the band or the complete absent of the band itself. A lot of these songs (85% of them) just sound like Jenny Lewis doing a pop act. Sennet, Reeder, and Bosel are sadly unimpressive which is CRAZY because everyone knows Sennet rocks on the guitar and Bosel is awesome on drums. In fact, "Close Call" is the only song Sennet gets to shine. It's a bit frustrating when you know how talented this band really is and all you get is a "good" effort (intramentally); no "wowness" here. Besides the terrible "The Moneymaker", there's another miss that belongs to "Give a Little Love", which a completely overbaked muffin that's too sweet for it's own good. The sound is borderline R&B; no joke! It just lacks originality. Any pop princess out there could have sung this. In fact, they probably have. It's awful! Just awful! And cheesy.
Overall, this is going to be one of those albums where it must be played a few times for the initial shock to sink in. I've been listening to this constantly since its relase, and even now I have trouble fathoming the fact that Rilo Kiley is playing, but it IS an excellent pop album. Perphaps, it'll just have to win you over over time, and it may not even take as long as it's done with others.
Still, I can't help but wonder if this simply is an atempt to widen their fan base which I'm sure a lot of people WILL admire and gravitate towards this album, but for myself and for other fans of Rilo Kiley from the get-go, MAY be a little disapointed at first and a little nervous to be honest.
KEY TRACKS 1. Silver Lining 2. Close Call 5. Breakin' Up 6. Dreamworld 8. 15 9. Smoke Detector
Addicted to Jenny Lewis
A. S. Deinken | Minneapolis, MN | 09/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Admittedly I bought this album at a time when I can't get enough of Jenny's vocals so my review may be somewhat biased. But many of these songs have jumped to my most listened to on iTunes in the past week. I think Under the Blacklight takes a few more listens to appreciate than some of R.K.'s previous albums. I love the synth on Dejalo and the rock on Moneymaker. A few of the tunes, like Silver Lining and Breakin' Up, have great sing-along-capabilities. Maybe it's just me but there were a few times when I heard a little early 90's Liz Phair and Frente.
If you're at all a fan of Jenny Lewis or Rilo Kiley I can't imagine that this album would disappoint."