I was reintroduced to the band in 2004 when I came across their animated and Lite-Brite-tastic music video for "It's a Hit" on AtomFilms. That song and a handful of others joined my playlist and slowly started taking over, climaxing in my own Rilo Kiley loop of songs from all of their CDs (except for Take Offs and Landings which I tragically haven't gotten around to purchasing yet).
There's something undeniably lovable about the band and their music, and it's not just lead singer Jenny Lewis's utter adorableness or her saccharine and sultry vocals.
I've always been a fan of singer Jewel, both as a poet and a performer. I love that she really says something in her lyrics, speaking from her heart and from an idyllic, universal human perspective. Rilo Kiley's songs move me in a similar way, although their lyrics are much less straight-forward. I love the way they string ideas and imagery together, seemingly at random, before throwing them out at the audience to take and make something personal out of them.
And another thing to love? Well, if you grew up in the early '90s like I did, you probably grew up loving half of the Rilo Kiley crew without even knowing it. Both Jenny Lewis and lead guitarist Blake Sennett (aka: Blake Soper) are former child stars, Sennett of Salute Your Shorts and Boy Meets World fame, and Lewis as Shelley Long's daughter in one of my personal favorites, the campy 80s classic, Troop Beverly Hills. And for Buffy fans - Blake also appeared as witch Michael Czajak in the third season episode, "Gingerbread".
I saw Rilo Kiley live for the first time in June at Terminal 5 and they were fantastic; so full of energy and enthusiasm, it was a full week before I got over the disappointment of having to listen to their albums again. But no worries - I made a full recovery.
My Top Ten Rilo Kiley:
1. With Arms Outstretched
Now some days they last longer than others2. Spectacular Views
But this day by the lake went too fast
And if you want me
You better speak up, I won't wait
So you better move fast
See the stars from where the birds make their homes3. Portions for Foxes
Staring back at us
Indifferent but distanced perfectly, projected endlessly
It's so fucking beautiful
I know I'm alone if I'm with or without you4. The Good That Won't Come Out
But just being around you offers me another form of relief
When the loneliness leads to bad dreams
And the bad dreams lead me to calling you
And I call you and say, "C'MERE!"
It's all of the good that won't come out of them5. I Never
And all the stupid lies they hide behind
It's such a big mistake
Standing here on this frozen lake
And I'm afraid habits rule my waking life6. The Frug
I'm scared and I'm running in my sleep
But all the oceans and rivers and showers
Will wash it all away and make me clean for you
7. It's a Hit
And I can hate your girl
I can tell you that she's real pretty
I can take my clothes off
I cannot fall in love
Ah, but the pardons never come from upstairs8. A Better Son/Daughter
They're always a moment too late
But it's entertainment
Keep the crowd on their toes
It's justice, we're safe
It's not a hit, it's a holiday
Shoo bop, shoo bop, my baby
And your ship may be coming in9. A Man/Me/Then Jim
You’re weak but not giving in
And you’ll fight it
You’ll go out fighting all of them
"Diana, Diana, Diana, I would die for you10. More Adventurous
I'm in love with you completely
I'm afraid that's all I can do"
She said, "You can sleep upon my doorstep
You can promise me indifference, Jim
But my mind's made up
And I'll never let you in again"
I've been trying to nod my head
But it's like I've got a broken neck
Wanting to say I will as my last testament
For me to be saved and you to be brave
We don't have to walk down that aisle
Because if marriage ain't enough
Well, at least we'll be loved