Jenny and Johnny

I’m Having Fun Now

Warner Bros.

Sep 03, 2010 Issue #32 - Summer 2010 - Wasted on the Youth Bookmark and Share


Who would have thought that the '60s pairing of Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra would have such an impact on like-minded male/female pop duos several decades later? Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward are doing a bang-up job with She & Him; Scarlett Johansson and Pete Yorn have thrown their hat into the ring with Break Up; and Mark Lanegan's work with Isobel Campbell has already produced three full-lengths.

Enter Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis and boyfriend Johnathan Rice. Though they may have the advantage of being in a relationship, you wouldn't know it from the laidback vibe dragging down this loping set of contemporary country-rock. While the couple packs a healthy dose of gently rocking songs and amiable hooks, it's difficult to shake the feeling that while constructing such pleasant, breezy odes to love, sex, and urban life, they checked their passion at the door.

Sexual tension has always played a prominent role in pop music, yet given the lyrical openness with regards to matters of lust that's become a trademark of Lewis' past work, it seems counterproductive to stir in the tame addition of Rice. Ultimately, Lewis seems better provoked artistically by themes of infidelity, mistrust, and moral vindication. Thankfully, I'm Having Fun Now isn't quite a misfire, and there's enough talent here to whip up a handful of enjoyable seduction anthems. The swaying, strolling "Switchblade in Your Coat;" the crunchy, driving "My Pet Snakes;" and the dizzying, infectiously rolling pop on album closer, "Committed," would all feel right at home on a summertime mixtape.     

Unfortunately, without the kinetic energy that spurns the creative process when dealing with such an implicitly sultry concept, it's like Lewis and Rice are merely coasting on their own strengths, leaving the record to fall short on meeting its full potential. (www.jennyandjohnnymusic.com)

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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John Sunglasses Clark
September 25th 2010
5:24am

Just heard this, I’d have given it an 8 too (like most people here) - sorry, reviewer, i think the pair work together much better than you say.