Jenny Lewis Shares Mint Chips, Ticking Clocks

Singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis dominated the early-aughts with her wistful indie pop, on solo albums, with bands Rilo Kiley and The Postal Service, and on numerous collaborations. She's back this month with "The Voyager."

Credit: Autumn de Wilde.

Hey there, I’m Jenny Lewis, and this is my Dinner Party soundtrack. I’ve imagined the dinner party as playing out in my own home – which we affectionately nicknamed Mint Chip because it’s dark brown and mint green and it looks like an ice cream cone. I’ve chosen songs for different types of situations, most importantly, what will get people out of your house.

Durutti Column, “Amigos em Portugal”

Before we kick people out, we’re gonna lull them into a sense of security with a song from the 80s, by a band called Durutti Column, and the song is called, “Amigos em Portugal.” The song was first played to me by Jimmy Tamborello from the Postal Service. We did a reunion tour last year, and we had a record player with us, and this was the first record that we put on.

Durutti Column, they were a band on Factory Records, but they were unlike a lot of other bands on Factory Records. This is kinda the flip-side to what you imagine what was going on in the ’80s in Manchester with the all-night raves and the ecstasy parties. This is sort of like the morning-after music.

Donnie and Joe Emerson, “Baby”

Now the wine is starting to flow a little bit. People are starting to feel a little salty, as we like to say. So, I wanna play Donnie and Joe Emerson, and the song is called “Baby.” They are these dudes who made one record in the ’70s, which no one heard when it came out. Cut to LA 2010, and I think Ariel Pink did a cover of this song and sort of brought it to attention. It’s really a perfect jam. It’s so romantic, and so beautiful, and so totally wounded.

Ariel Pink, “Are You Going to Look Out For My Boys?”

Here comes the final song that gets everyone to vacate Mint Chip, while making me very happy. It’s this Ariel Pink song called, “Are You Going to Look Out For My Boys?” The first time that I heard it, I couldn’t stop listening to the song, and then I played it for one of my friends, and she said, “Wow, this song is so annoying.” It just does something to me, it’s like catnip, or something. It just riles me up. The repetition excites me, but I think for other people, I don’t know why they don’t like it. I can’t understand it.

Jenny Lewis, “Just One of the Guys”

Well, of course, I would never choose one of my own songs to play at my own dinner party, that would be so tacky, but if I had to, I think I’d go with, Just One of The Guys. It’s track three. On every record that I make, I always reserve track three as the special spot for the song that feels the most relevant lyrically, at the time, to me. And if you listen closely, you can hear that clock ticking, the lady clock. I mean, not entirely. It’s supposed to be funny, actually. I should have chosen a song about Hawaii, dammit.