Jenny Lewis - On the Line
Critic Score
Based on 26 reviews
2019 Ratings: #43 / 737
Year End Rank: #37
User Score
Based on 316 ratings
2019 Ratings: #433
Liked by 3 people
March 22, 2019 / Release Date
LP / Format
Warner Bros. / Label
Pop Rock, Soft Rock / Genres
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On her fourth solo record, Jenny Lewis skewers all of these tensions with astonishing ease. It’s up there with her greatest work to date.
The Telegraph

There is nothing ground-breaking here, and Lewis pays not even the faintest lip service to contemporary pop trends. But if you like quality songwriting delivered with panache, On The Line is on the money.


It's tender, it's quiet, it's loud. It's filled with passion, but never bitter, nor passive aggressively sweet. Time was given and taken in a manner that could only be construed through forgiveness.


‘On the Line’ ... sounds as if its slow-burning gestation was all part of the plan - it’s a stately and unhurried affair that methodically untangles heartbreak with sharp storytelling and Lewis’ trademark rapier wit.


On the Line is full of such raw realizations laid bare — it's Lewis squaring up a difficult period of her life with an affected but steady gaze.

God Is in the TV

Lewis winds her own tapestry here around a difficult time of her life, with the sweetest voice on offer right now in the Valley, the Canyon and anywhere else in L.A., every word clear and utterly convincing.

Under The Radar

Stacked with radio-friendly earworms aplenty, this is no empty-calories pop. It's filled with inescapable themes—spirituality, life after death, addiction, loss—you can sink your teeth into, commiserate, and then sing along.

A.V. Club

On The Line preserves the irreverence and honesty of her past work, but underscores that Lewis is finding a new, deeper musical path drawing from—but not beholden to—grief and rebirth.

Drowned in Sound
On the Line is yet another beautifully-realised and impeccably-delivered effort from a songwriter who revels and beguiles us from floorboards and pavements that few other songwriters would dream to tread.

It's an album where the particulars dissipate after its conclusion, leaving behind pleasant thoughts but no distinct memories.

The Independent

Here, Lewis does what she does best: adds the glossy sparkle of Hollywood and a sunny Californian sheen to melancholy and nostalgia, with her most luxuriantly orchestrated album yet.

Rolling Stone

As glorious as the sound of this thing is, glinting with letter-perfect ‘70s-’80s rock sonics and touches of 21st-century psychedelic irony, the songs are the show, written by a woman of a particular age from a perspective well past jaded.

Northern Transmissions

This could be Jenny Lewis at her best—at the very least, it’s the freshest she and many of her backers have sounded in years.

The Observer

The overarching mood cannot help but be bittersweet.


The fourth album from the California indie rock icon features some of her strongest songwriting, sung gorgeously and told with biting detail.


While On The Line is an album full of bleak subject matter, there’s an uplifting, even cathartic feel to much of it. It’s the sound of someone coming out of the darkness, and starting to see the light shining through.


Making the personal feel representative of an entire city and a certain mythos is not for the fainthearted, but Lewis, with her tantalizingly specific lyrics and casual non sequiturs, does it so well throughout On the Line that you hardly notice the sleight of hand.

Consequence of Sound

Lewis’ songs have always been mature and introspective, but On the Line reaches new heights as she explores from a changed perspective.

Occasionally, the lyrics wander into cliché but for the most part, it’s a strong addition to a stellar body of work and another welcome showing from one of music’s most consistent and underrated performers.
The Line of Best Fit

On The Line may not be her strongest work, no matter how much it aims to be but it proves that Jenny Lewis doesn't need to try too hard to become one of the greats. She's already been one for a while.

No Ripcord

It's the true embodiment of a studio album, and it shows—from the classic FM radio pop-rock of Red Bull and Hennessy to the soulful country-rock of Little White Dove, every instrument is put to use with seamless efficiency.

Spectrum Culture

Lewis still shows herself to be able to put together some top-notch music and musicians, but there’s something decidedly lacking. Where before she remained well contained within a given musical idiom, here she wanders.

the indie icon’s solo career hasn’t panned out as expected, although her first effort in a half decade is romantic and dreamy.

a Jenny Lewis record that’s folk-country is one of the craziest left turns i know of; her effort always shines through, even when the album doesn’t
The vibe I'm getting so far is Kacey Musgraves as a jaded middle aged divorcee, all weed smoke and rhinestones and heartache, but with just enough of that optimism left in her to keep the band playing. It's Jenny Lewis' best solo album yet.
While this record lacks some of Lewis' usual character, her development as a songwriter is foregrounded to great effect. It's especially rewarding if you're a fan to see the wisdom and polish she has applied to her writing style. That said, Lewis' latest record feels a bit more streamlined with many lyrical concepts slightly undercooked for the sake of restraint. I feel that I appreciated this album more than I enjoyed it if that makes sense.

Rating: Average (56).
Be honest, is Jenny Lewis the Elton John of the 2010s?
Melodies! That's the gold part of this. The melodies easily get stuck in my head especially in the singles. That and the great production (don't know how to feel about Ryan Adams producing most of the tracks). The lyrics can be forced a bit but I like the tracks about her relationship with her mom. generally a really good album.
Faves: Wasted Youth, Red Bull & Hennessy, Do Si Do
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Track List

  1. Heads Gonna Roll
  2. Wasted Youth
  3. Red Bull & Hennessy
  4. Hollywood Lawn
  5. Do Si Do
  6. Dogwood
  7. Party Clown
  8. Little White Dove
  9. Taffy
  10. On the Line
  11. Rabbit Hole
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Added on: December 3, 2018