Acid Tongue is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis, released in September 2008 (see 2008 in music) through Warner Bros. and Rough Trade Records. Inspired by jam sessions, the album was recorded in January 2008 in Van Nuys, California with the intent of capturing a more live feeling than 2006's Rabbit Fur Coat. Lewis worked with a number of guest musicians and wrote the album with boyfriend Johnathan Rice. Lewis, Rice, Jason Lader, and Dave Scher produced the album.
Acid Tongue (CD, Album). High Note Records, Rough Trade. Acid Tongue (CD, Album).
Album · 2008 · 12 Songs. With basic tracks cut as close to live as possible, including the lead vocals, the Rilo Kiley singer’s second solo album expresses a raw excitement, strongly supported by an enviable guestlist and the impressive sonics of Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, CA, where the recording for Neil Young’s After the Goldrush and Nirvana’s Nevermind once took place. With those ghosts in the air, Lewis set out to capture a performance, and that she does. Elvis Costello adds his coarse edge for a duet of Carpetbaggers. M. Ward adds his peculiar guitar to Pretty Bird.
On Acid Tongue, Jenny Lewis delivers a strong collection of diverse and ambitious songs, highlighting her pleasant vocals and songwriting skills. The first two songs are not particularly memorable but starting with "The Next Messiah" its all gold. Styles range from the stripped down harmonies of the title song, the country rock of "Carpetbaggers"(a duet with the suddenly ubiquitous Elvis Costello), and the radio friendly ballad "Godspeed", about a friend in an abusive relationship.
Key elements on this album are country rock and gospel leavened with a dash of dirty Southern rock 'n' roll ( The Black Crowes' Chris Robinson makes an appearance). Recorded mainly live over three weeks, in places tracks (like See Fernando) are gloriously in-yer-face, while in others the harmonies (provided by a host of pals including Zooey Deschanel) are swoonigly lush. The title track's chorus will melt any heart. Subject-wise Lewis still sticks to what she does best: confessionals with a distinctly grown-up bent (especially on the sexually charged opener, Black Sand)
Acid Tongue, Lewis' second solo album, acts as a rebuke to all the considered calculation and perfunctory polish of Under the Black Light. Nothing about Acid Tongue feels over-thought, a problem that plagued both Under the Black Light and her solo debut Rabbit Fur Coat, whose rustic country-soul vibe occasionally played like a studied pose, particularly as Lewis picked up on every one of Elvis Costello's overheated literary lyrical tics. As a solo artist, Lewis is a proud traditionalist, adhering to the constructs and conceits of classic singer/songwriters, which can come across as affectation if she's too careful to follow conventions, like she was on Rabbit Fur Coat. In stark contrast to that 2006 LP, Acid Tongue is open-hearted and thrillingly alive, an album that's all about a live band making a big, joyful noise in a small room.