Album Reviews

Album Review: Jenny and Johnny – I’m Having Fun Now (Warner)

By | Published on Friday 26 November 2010

Jenny & Johnny

Don’t tell Zooey Deschanel, but I occasionally cheat on my number one girlcrush with Jenny Lewis. Shh, I told you to keep it down!

Anyway. Jenny – beautiful Jenny – and her man-friend Johnathan Rice release their first album ‘I’m Having Fun Now’, a typical foray into the cutesy boy/girl set-up that has become rather popular over the years between pretty, fey ladies (read: Lewis, Deschanel, Campbell) and retiring, silent-type men (read: Rice, Ward, Lanegan). I’m not complaining; from Ella and Louis to The Raveonettes, I’ve always been a fan of this particular strand of soulful indie rock; maybe it’s something about taking the rough with the smooth, or mixing the dynamics of gender. Whatever – it works.

And boy, do J&J make it work. Between Jenny’s sweetly mature and dulcet vocals and Johnny’s skill for writing a bloody perfect alt-country tune, ‘I’m Having Fun Now’ is everything its title says – it’s fun, it’s well-married, it’s a collaboration of two people who are genuinely in love with each other’s methods and what they are doing together. The album is warmly authentic; it feels real and unforced – the references to pop culture, politics and drugs aren’t blase, they’re honest and almost biting.

But besides that, ‘I’m Having Fun Now’ is, in its sound, truly and wholly American. The sweetness of ‘Animal’ sounds like a cross-country road-trip during dusk, while the bulkier ‘Big Wave’ screams of California and its easy living with darker undertones laced through the lyrics. ‘Straight Edge Of The Blade’ is an incredibly catchy song that tells a surprisingly sad, mournful story; and album opener ‘Scissor Runner’ has that Ben Kweller-esque melody that grabs you and hangs on until you give in and admit that you’d want to hear it over and over.

A match made in heaven, Jenny and Johnny have nodded hugely towards classic American pop with their debut, but instead of just ‘having fun’, have painted clever and entertaining tales, and have created something that nuzzles extremely comfortably in its genre without fading amongst the rest. TW

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