Thursday, December 7, 2023

All is Forgiven by Lilli Lewis

 So let me start with I know Lilli Lewis.  My daughters call her Aunt Lilli so if you are like well Martha can't be impartial then that may be true, but I challenge you to go and listen to the album and then come at me.

Where do I start with Lilli Lewis's new release?  Do I start with the song that I love most? song that makes me dance?  song that makes me question life? I'll go down the song list!

I lied so general feeling first.  I love this album and not just because I've watched Lilli workshop some of these songs over the last year.  I'll be honest there is a track that does not make sense to me for this album but man do I love Lilli's voice.  I am always on pins and needles when I know Lilli is about to release something new into the world.  One, I love Lilli as a human, as an auntie to my girls, as a soul sister to my husband, the list goes on.  Two, because I love Lilli's music, I want others to love Lilli's music.  I want the world to be on fire for her because her music moves my soul.  I'll tell you the thing that worries me about the rest of the world finding Lilli is I don't want to hear covers of her music.  I want Lilli's voice only.  Light (O, Let Your Light Shine) has been covered, and the first time I heard it I was offended.  Like that is my song who in the world had the gaul to sing it!?  Anyways, it's an okay cover.

But to All Is Forgiven, the album is well worth your listen.  Like most of Lilli's music, you can enjoy it without listening hard to the lyrics but if you take the time to listen and really hear the lyrics you are in for a soul punch.  Lilli really likes to bring you in for a hug and then whisper in your ear, "Was that action really an act of radical decency or are you being an asshole?"  The funny thing is since she punches your soul in the midst of the hug, you are able to take it for what she is giving which is love.  When so many people are demanding you be kind, Lilli asks are you decent to yourself and others?  Why the difference?  Lilli believes in accountability!

So starting with Sin Eater, she wants you to not be an asshole.  Like I'll give and you take but don't think I don't see you taking more than you should.  To me, all of the kindness is life rhetoric implies taking shit.  Radical decency gives you permission to call out bs.  Also, the tuba/sousaphone if you don't bop to this then I don't even want to speak to you, like for real.

Happy Enough is a song I know from Lilli's The Shiz days.  I did not know she was bringing to this album.  I was shocked and at first, I didn't like it.  I mean where is Liz's voice?  The song feels different but in a good way.  The Shiz's version felt like a challenge.  The Shiz version with Liz on lead vocal is more like Liz was in your face and if answered wrong there was going to be a fight.  Lilli's version is more fun, and less dangerous.  It may be the mellowing of all of us, Lilli, Liz, and myself, all being in our 40s so rather than the need to fight, it is now an acceptance that if I'm not happy enough for you well that is your problem, not mine.

The title track, All is Forgiven, is the best throwback to the 80s.  This needs to be the theme song to a great family sitcom.  I can see Steve Winwood with some amazing backup singers just getting down to this.  Then Whitney Houston would cover it for a retro-film.  Anyway, the point is I like it and it reminds me of the 80s.

Lilli's Just One Ride is a heartbreaker.  I first heard it about a year ago when she was workshopping it.  My immediate thought was this belongs on Grey's Anatomy.  But very specifically over a scene where Dr. Callie Torres (played by Sara Ramirez) finally finds her own voice and takes charge of her life.  I don't know if that scene exists but it should and this song should play over it.  I pray that more people fall in love with Just One Ride.  

If You Really Mattered is a call to action.  It sounds melancholy but again, if you want to be melancholy you 100% can or you can listen to the lyrics and get off your ass.  This is a reminder that we have to practice radical decency with ourselves.  Hold ourselves accountable to be amazing humans with gifts and talents meant to be shared not hidden.  This is Lilli looking at you and telling you, "You are amazing and you are here to do amazing shit.  Get off your ass.  I see you!  I see you sitting!  GET OFF YOUR ASS!"  But in a soft tune so you don't even realize she is kicking you in the ass.

I think Possible is the part II to If You Really Mattered.  "To Trust You Back"  Just that line.  Can you trust yourself?  See accountability!  Get off your ass.  Stop listening to those assholes, you are amazing!

Okay and then you are lead into what feels like an oddball off the wall, WTF in Ciel Eternel.  Don't get me wrong it is beautiful.  If you don't know the ability of Lilli's voice, this shows it off beautifully but what is she saying?  I don't speak French so I don't know.  But it is pretty.

If you make it this far in this blog and the album then you know that you are going back into hell; you are being called back to radical decency.  Drink This Water Child is another slow song with deep lyrics.  Lilli often sings of water and uses water as a metaphor.  I wish she had punched up the vocals because they feel hidden behind the music.  The water is deep and I feel like I don't get the lyrical punch because I struggle to hear the actual words.  

The ending track is a piano-forward song named Firefly.  This feels like a southern porch in the middle of a hot summer night when you are having deep conversations with your best friend.  You are watching the fireflies and realizing that you are the light that this world needs but it is hot and late so you are just going to sit, talk, and drink some sweet tea.  It is a call to action and a reminder to move with intention so that the heat doesn't overwhelm you, no wasted energy.

So that is All Is Forgiven the new album by Lilli Lewis.  She is a profound music writer.  She can take a simple message, practice radical decency, and make it pretty or loud so that it is accessible to everyone.  Listen to it.  Tell me I'm full of it.  I am not a profound writer.  I am not a profound music critic.  This music I like.  I think you might like it too.