Just One of the Guys is the first single released off of Jenny Lewis’ third solo album, The Voyager, released today. The song, produced by Beck, is perfect in its juxtaposition of mood and meaning, something we’ve come to expect from Jenny, both in her solo work, and her time with Rilo Kiley. On the surface this seems like a lighthearted, Summertime romp of a song, one that toys with gender roles, yes, but with a sixties girl group, or Bangles Going Down to Liverpool kind of way.
Underneath the surface though is a thoughtful, and at times painful, confession of the conflicts of being a woman. From the ticking of the proverbial biological clock, to the struggle to define oneself in any gender, and what that actually means, Jenny poses some tough topics that stick around long after the song ends.
Her years as the lead singer to Rilo Kiley, the only female in the band, and the predominance of males in the world of rock and roll, is part of the perceived perception – though it feels even more personal than that, especially with lines like “but I’ve been the only sister to my own sorrow.”
The music video (see above) features a few talented actors playing both the Robert Palmer Addicted To Love-esque bandmates to Jenny, and the “in drag” versions of themselves – Kristen Stewart (who steals the show when she dons the ‘stache), Brie Larson and Anne Hathaway.
Editor’s Note: I used to spend an inordinate amount of time claiming I was one of those girls who got on better with guys, who did not really enjoy the companionship of other women, playing at being this “cool girl”/”just one of the guys” — though looking back, I’m not sure why. My best friendships, the most intimate and longstanding and personal, have been with women, so what was I playing at really? Was it my deep insecurities and low self-esteem that wanted to avoid the comparisons I thought I’d inevitably suffer from? Was I trying to earn love from the opposite sex by turning myself into them, or what I perceived they wanted? It’s a complicated thing to consider, and I’m not quite sure I understand all of it yet, all of how I felt and my emotional motivations.