I have been a huuuge fan of Rilo Kiley since around the time their first album, “Take Offs and Landings” came out in 2001. They released a second album the follow year, “The Execution Of All Things,” that still remains one of my all-time favorites. It played almost nonstop throughout my teenage years, the backdrop of the mental illness that was just beginning to really show.
Between then and 2007, Rilo Kiley released several EPs and four full-length albums in total, though many would like to forget “Under The Blacklight” ever happened, myself included. It was terrible. It was not the band that I discovered and immediately latched onto as if it were a life vest that could help save my teenage self. Instead, it was a group of people wondering if they could throw their already established and unique identity in the trash and start over for a more mainstream audience. (No. No they could not.)
After a several year hiatus, Rilo Kiley officially disbanded in 2011. However, as with every single musical artist ever, they had written and recorded a lot more songs than those that were released to the public, and this past April a compilation of rarities and B-sides entitled “rkives” was released.
I just found “rkives” last week. I am blaming Spotify for this oversight, as they took their good ole’ sweet time alerting me that Rilo Kiley had released anything new despite the fact that I am following them and have all of their albums, even the dreaded and hardly-ever-listened-to “Under the Blacklight” saved as personal playlists. Damn you for keeping this from me, Spotify.
rkives is the (mostly) perfect farewell to a band that I have long been very emotionally invested in. I say mostly because I firmly believe “Dejalo” should have never been released in the first place, and yet on “rkives” it is given an awful remix that I cannot turn off fast enough whenever it rolls back around.
Since I have been listening to this album almost exclusively since I found out it existed, I thought it was only fitting to share some of my favorite tracks from it here.
“Let Me Back In” is an ode to Los Angeles and classic Rilo Kiley. It is sweet, nostalgic, and the essence of what Rilo Kiley has always had to offer.
“Emotional” — oh, this song. The first time I listened to “rkives” I listened to it straight through. I didn’t give individual songs a second listen until I had finished the album and could see how it stood on its own, as a compiled piece of work. I didn’t know that “Emotional” had left such an impression on me until I found myself humming it several hours later. I dub “Emotional” the sneaky earworm.
There’s not a whole lot going on in “It’ll Get You There.” It is merely a song made up of lists, which Jenny Lewis has a habit of doing in her writing. I’m not knocking it. I love this song, regardless of the lack of insight it takes to get the message of this song across loud and clear. No fancy language needed.
All the trips that you take, they will get you there.
All the little white pills you take, they will get you there.
All the compliments that you take, they will get you there.
All the hearts that you break, they will get you there.