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Quintessential Albums :: More Adventurous (2004) :: Rilo Kiley

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A Little History:

More Adventurous is the third full-length album released by Los Angeles based band Rilo Kiley. The album, released on August 17, 2004, marks a significant change in the band’s sound with the goal of being “more adventurous” than their previous music. The effort paid off by increasing the group’s audience and garnering critical praise.

Two versions of the album were released: the regular store-sold version in a normal jewel case and a limited edition digipak version (1,000 copies) sold at the album’s release party and concert.

The song Accidntel Deth was produced by Jimmy Tamborello, known for his work in The Postal Service and as Dntel (which explains the unusual spelling of the title).

Lead singer Jenny Lewis would tour with The Postal Service this same year.

The songs Ripchord and It Just Is were written in response to the death of Elliott Smith.

The song More Adventurous alludes to a line from Frank O’Hara’s Meditations in an Emergency, “Each time my heart is broken it makes me feel more adventurous (and how the same names keep recurring on that interminable list!), but one of these days there’ll be nothing left with which to venture forth.”

Mike Mogis, who was essentially the Saddle Creed house produced at the time, working most notably with Bright Eyes, helped bring this album to life. He is credited as playing banjo, glockenspiel, guitar, mandolin, pedal steel, synthesizer, vibraphone, and wurlitzer on the album.

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What Makes This “Quintessential” to me?

Where do I begin with this one, when so many of these songs hold so much significance to me? I think it was It’s a Hit, the opening track, that I heard first. I recall playing it on a drive to and from airport when a close friend was coming for an Autumn visit, back when she used to do that every year, or so. There was something about the song we both loved, maybe the wit and edge to the lyrics, or the sentiment of “writer’s block” that we both could relate to, or maybe it was just the fact that we were discovering the song, and the band, at the same time, together.

It would be a bit of time later that Does He Love You? would come into my life and hit me hard. I had found myself in the midst of a complicated, long-distance “something” with a married man that was full of “what if’s” and “when I leave her and come out to California“, that latter one something I never believed, but still stuck around to hear more than a few times. Nothing ever came out of any of it really except for some passionate emails, and some brilliant mix CD’s. We never met in-person, we never broke anyone’s vows, though I think both of our hearts were left with some slow to heal bruises. This song, during that time, felt ripped from my insides, and even though it hurt to hear, I played it over and over again.

The title song, More Adventurous, along with Portions for Foxes, both felt like anthems for the first year after I left a broken relationship, and was trying to make it on my own again. I Never found itself on music mix love letters sent off to a poet I would have two passionate stops and starts with, each time believing no stops were up ahead. And then there was A Man/Me/Then Jim that I wouldn’t pay much attention to for years, and then one night the song would start playing in my car, part of a mix that a friend had made, and I would find myself mesmerized by it. I love storytelling in songs, and this one ended up becoming a favorite of mine. The characters in the song tragic and vivid, leaving me wanting to know more.

rilo-kiley-portions-for-foxes-music-video1-750x421My Top 5 Favorite Songs:

1. Does He Love You?

A married man,
he visits me.
I receive his letters in the mail twice a week.
I think he loves me,
and when he leaves her,
he’s coming out to California.”

2. A Man/Me/Then Jim

We sat quietly in the corner,
whispering close about loss.
And I remembered why I loved her,
and I asked her why I drove her off
.”

3. Portions for Foxes

“And the talking leads to touching,
and the touching leads to sex,
and then there is no mystery left.”

4. It’s a Hit

“But it’s a sin when success complains,
and your writers block,
it don’t mean shit;
just throw it against the wall and see what sticks.”

5. More Adventurous

“I’ve felt the wind on my cheek coming down from the East,
and thought about how we are all as numerous as leaves on trees,
and maybe ours is the cause of all mankind:
Get loved, make more, try to stay alive.”

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