Being that I’m a young female, from Los Angeles, Rilo Kiley seem like a band that would easily appeal to me, and in many ways they do. I almost always prefer the singers of the bands I listen to be female and, more importantly too, I love folk music. It would seem that Rilo Kiley would instantly be my new favorite band because they possess both those qualities. The lead singer of the band is Jenny Lewis and they play folk type music that is easy to listen to. That could, in fact, be the band’s biggest problem. They are extremely easy to listen to and after a while it becomes boring and a lot of the songs sound way too similar to one another.
The opening track “Go Ahead”, on their debut “Take-Offs & Landings”, starts and within the first minute it sounds like a rip-off of every folk song I’ve heard in the last ten years. There’s the finger-picked guitar riff that sounds dull and uninspired and then there’s the even worse lyrics, “If you want to have your cake and eat it too and if you want to have other people watch you while you eat it go ahead.” As the album goes on the lyrics become more corny and it makes most of the songs more tedious to listen to then they should be. These unimaginative lyrics could be forgiven if only the band tried to write something worthwhile, but the band seems to be more interested in catering to a young demographic that would find these sort of lyrics comforting. What saves the songs from being completely terrible is the soft angelic voice of Jenny Lewis. She is the band’s most talented member and the sole reason this band has a future.
Jenny Lewis is a talented vocalist and helps this album from being completely banal and worthless. The best song on the album, “Science vs. Romance”, is carried by Lewis’ voice and shows that this band has the potential to create some great songs in the future. Unfortunately “Take-Offs & Landings” has too many noticeable growing pains that it cannot be forgiven. Songs like “Wires and Waves” and “Always” show a band that doesn’t know what next step to take, and what makes this worse is that this is only their first album. Part of this album’s unoriginality is the guitar playing by Blake Sennett. His riffs sound recycled on almost every song and it ends up dragging some of the songs, that had potential, down. This isn’t to say Sennett isn’t talented because he is, it just sounds like he wrote one riff and chose to slightly alter it on the majority of the songs. It’s obvious that he’s influenced by the great Elliott Smith, but he doesn’t even come close to matching the emotion or power that Smith had. The song “August” is a perfect example of this. The song is sung by Sennett and he does his best Elliott Smith impression. It’s not terrible, but it shows that Rilo Kiley rely too heavily on their influences to write songs. The song is practically begging the listener to stop listening to the album and put on an Elliott Smith record.
With all of its faults “Take-Offs & Landings” isn’t unlistenable, and that is why I cannot hate on this album. Yes, it is boring at times and it does become a chore to listen to. However, songs like “Pictures of Success” and “Plane Crash in C” are quite enjoyable and save this album. Jenny Lewis is a wonderful talent and she could benefit from better song writing. Rilo Kiley certainly have the potential to make great songs, and it shows on songs such as “Science vs. Romance”. The band needs to learn to be more diverse in their songwriting and make sure that their songs don’t sound like a rehash of one another. In the end I guess I’m just more disappointed that a band with a charming lead singer made an album that sounded fatigued after the first 10 minutes and, unfortunately, wasn’t able to showcase the talent I know the entire band has.
can't find anything I don't like about this review after reading it twice... nice job! Only thing is that it gets a tad tedious here and there, remember that if you can say something just as descriptive in less words, to take this path... not a big issue at all though, an enjoyable read.
this is the only Rilo Kiley I haven't heard. Do you prefer their other music, I'm assuming? The Execution of All Things is superb.
I almost always prefer the singers of the bands I listen to be female and, more importantly, I love folk music.
This sticks out like a sore thumb, you're missing another 'to' in there, but putting it in would make it awkward, so I would just reword that sentence.
Other than that, decent review. Some other awkward parts but nothing overtly bad. I dislike the fact that you've reviewed this album and not mentioned how good 'Picture of Success' is - that's by far the best thing about this.
eh, i think the intro here is rather weak. good reviews tend to be the more objective ones, talking about yourself in relation to the album tells us nearly nothing about what you're trying to review and is rather dull to read for most readers who really do not care who you are in relation to an album. kind of like being a musician makes your musical opinion any less important.
okay review though, other than the fact that you main argument is that this is unoriginal/repetitive...
The opening track “Go Ahead”, on their debut “Take-Offs & Landings”, starts and within the first minute it sounds like a rip-off of every folk song I’ve heard in the last ten years."
Using a criticism like this makes a lot of assumption about you, the reviewer, and what you've listened to for the last ten years. Is 10 years the total amount of time you've listened to any and all music? Was folk music different before then? It's an empty generalization with no evidence for comparison. You're speaking casually-and I can relate to that-but in a critique, try to be more specific. You have similar criticisms that are empty.
Your third paragraph is strong and is tending toward great criticism, but could be written better. The entire review could use a rewrite (not because it's bad-which it's not-but because like many reviews, it will tremendously benefit from being updated after receiving feedback) and I would find someone who you trust to read your reviews and edit them for you, provide feedback, etc. This will greatly improve your writing process. Don't use someone from this site, some people here are creeps with women, just find a smart friend who has a firm understanding of the English language.
You've got review construction down. If you didn't write an outline, I'm surprised. Consider using outlines in the future, they're awesome for review writing.
You used then instead of than in the 2nd paragraph.
I didn't vote on this review.
This album is great, I've had it playing consistently the past few days. Science vs. Romance is probably the best song. Hard to gauge. It's very Weezer-derived on the guitars, on a few songs. You can tell Weezer rubbed off on this band (and uh, scores more?) for this album. But it's not the primary influence, and it's clear that Rilo Kiley has a distinct enough sound to achieve recognition for originality and beauty in the lyrics and song construction (primarily simple and sweet, though layered with darker elements).
honestly for how much you point to a need for Jenny to improve her lyricism (which I think it what you're getting at as opposed to "songwriting") you don't provide much of an argument. The one line you picked out isn't particularly poor on a literary basis and you do not provide any context.
this + every Irving said ^
too many sweeping statements with no real firm base from which to make them from. Sounds like weightless criticism half the time.
and I wouldn't say Rilo Kiley were pandering to a younger audience--they make indie-pop I'm not sure what you were expecting otherwise.
I don't know I guess I just really don't the lyrics on this album. With Science vs. Romance and Picture of Success being the exception. I'm a huge fan of the band's next two albums and when I listen to this it just comes off as average.
The production is nothing to really talk about on this album. She just really doesn't like this album haha. I think the review does a good job of describing why you don't like this album, but not why others should dislike this album. I suppose as you become a stronger reviewer, you'll approach objectivity with much more focus and evidence and your reviews will improve overall.
Blake Sennett ruins good songs. He practically takes every RK album rating down 0.5. I'd agree that he's a dirt poor-man's Elliot Smith, but to me he's so bad that he can't even draw comparison.