Tag Archives: Jenny Lewis

Jenny Lewis Gets Older With “Acid Tongue”

To be lonely is a habit
Like smoking or taking drugs
And I’ve quit them both
But man, was it rough

Now I am tired
It just made me tired
Let’s build ourselves a fire
Let’s build ourselves a fire

These lines are from Jenny Lewis’s new song “Acid Tongue,” also the name of her forthcoming record. In this context, the line “let’s build ourselves a fire” signifies weary resignation; unable to summon the effort for love, she decides to sleep through it, asking her partner to do the same.

But the meaning behind line changes elsewhere in the song, when Lewis sings this:

We build ourselves a fire…
But you know I am a liar…
And you don’t know what I’ve done

These lines signify two things: 1) that Lewis is leaving something out of the story, both to her unloved one and to the listener, and 2) that she, not he, is in control of the situation. She might not have a grip on the relationship, but intentionally or not, it’s clear that she was the one who sabotaged it.

By not telling us “what she’s done,” Lewis also builds a barrier between herself and the listener, as well as any potential suitors (such as the cobbler in the first verse, whose advances she turns down).

And so, beneath the mild drug references and initially ambiguous storytelling, Jenny Lewis delivers a resigned ballad in the tradition of the weathered bluesman. She seems old beyond her years, but little details belie her age. An older singer may have loved and lost. Sharing a fireside bed with a numbed boyfriend, Lewis has lost love but has not yet dusted away the ashes.

Jenny Lewis – “Acid Tongue” (Live)