Thursday, July 14, 2011

On the Occasion of their Apparent Breakup, Rilo Kiley's "Better Son/Daughter"

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2011 at 2:05 PM

This is probably the quintessential Rilo Kiley video: Recorded at a 2005 concert somewhere in Pennsylvania, the band performs their best song, "Better Son or Daughter," from their best album, The Execution of All Things. Like so many great rock and roll songs before it, it's about overcoming something, a lot of things, actually. It's full of promise and resolve, but it's also born of massive self-doubt, without which there would obviously be no need for the mantras the song's second part is built around. But back to the video: Jenny Lewis is in the foreground, well-lit and almost stone cold, but still very clearly aware that all eyes on her. In the background, guitarist and songwriter Blake Sennet moves in and out of the shadows—at times content to be left out of the spotlight and at other times totally starved for it. All the while the crowd, composed of some of the most dedicated fans indie rock has ever seen, sings every word. Before in-fighting and major label pressures knocked them so far off course, to the point where it seems they're done forever, these guys understood as well as anyone what a certain breed of messed up kids were looking for.

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