Quintessential Album Series :: Rabbit Fur Coat :: Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins
A Little History:
Rabbit Fur Coat is an album by Jenny Lewis, featuring The Watson Twins. It was released in the United States on January 24, 2006 by Team Love. Jenny Lewis has described the album as a “sort of soul record“.
The album contains a cover of the Traveling Wilburys’ song Handle With Care, featuring Ben Gibbard, Conor Oberst and M. Ward.
Two singles were released; Rise Up With Fists!! and You Are What You Love.
NPR’ s “All Things Considered” listeners voted the album in at # 8 for best albums of 2006.
What Makes This “Quintessential” to me?
Sometimes albums come along during a pivotal time in your life when everything is changing, when big moments are occurring, and when your heart is under the weather and in need of some kind of musical healing, or a sign of where to go next. I was at a kind of crossroads when the album was given to me. It was a birthday gift from a good friend who did not know how much inner turmoil I was in. Sometimes we are in the most pain when no one notices.
The album was perfect. It was like the one elixir I desperately needed but had no idea where to find. I was in a city I didn’t feel at home in. I was in a relationship that was falling apart at the seams. I was longing to go home but I did not really have a home to go back to. Most days I just felt completely lost and alone, even though I was not alone at all.
I thought I’d found love and a fresh start, but I never felt truly seen for me, but as more of a fictional character, a fantasy, an ideal that I was constantly failing at becoming. I felt more of a muse than a partner, more a lover than the other half of anything strong. It was wonderful at times, and terribly painful at other times. I can remember walking from the platform in the snow listening to this album through headphones, freezing cold, weighed down heavy with decisions that I felt I had to make alone, and the song You Are What You Love came on and it just got it, all that I was tangled up with that snowy night, and I knew what I wanted, and what I needed, and sadly they were not the same things.
The next few months were painful in ways I still have not faced, loss being the theme of those days, but this album was still, standing strong beside me, even in cold clinic rooms, and in those panic dreams in the middle of the night moments. I am forever grateful to Jenny and the Twins for getting me through the worst of it.
It stuck around for the good times later, too. It was there during the reconciliation, those golden days when it all seemed like it could work this time. It was there even after it didn’t, and though days were darker after that, the ebb and flow persisted, nothing is dark forever. Looking back at that time, though there are a few regrets, mostly I’m just glad to be here now, and not back there, feeling like that night in the snow.
I don’t listen to the album near as much as I did those first two years, but when I do make a return visit it still resonates and makes me feel connected. To me, that is definitely a “quintessential album” quality, that kind of musical longevity.
1. You are What You Love
a thief at best,
a coward who paints a bullshit canvas,
of things that will never happen to me.”
2. Rise Up With Fists!!
“Like when you wake up behind the bar,
trying to remember where you are,
having crushed all the pretty things;
there but for the grace of God go I.”
3. Rabbit Fur Coat
“But I’m not bitter about it.
I’ve packed up my things and let them have at it,
and the fortune faded,
as fortunes often do
and so did that mansion house.”
4. Handle With Care
“Been beat up and battered ’round,
been sent up,
and I’ve been shot down,
but you’re the best thing that I’ve ever found.
Handle me with care.”
5. Melt Your Heart
“When you’re sleeping with someone who doesn’t get you,
You’re gonna hate yourself in the morning.”