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Song vs. Song: Jenny Lewis vs. Yeah Yeah Yeahs

In this new ongoing series that I have been meaning to do for years but have never done ... I will be comparing songs with the same/similar name and determining which one is better. Utterly a useless exercise, but did you read the blog name?! Yeah ... it's a reoccurring theme ... 


This week, we've got in one corner, indie queen Jenny Lewis! Her latest album "On the Line" just dropped this past Friday and Lewis is riding an impressively large wave of media coverage at the moment. And honestly, she deserves it. 



And in the OTHER corner, we have that beloved indie rock band from the turn of the century - Yeah Yeah Yeahs! Karen O has been up to a bit lately, but I have only followed from a distance and thus feel unqualified to pontificate on it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The songs that are duking it out today? "Heads Gonna Roll" vs. "Heads Will Roll."

Let's look at "Heads Gonna Roll" first - a lead single off Jenny Lewis's "On the Line." It's quite different than the other contender - it's a slow burner of a ballad, a wistful rumination of a past lover. But more than that ... it's also a pensive, authentic look at the fallout of a relationship. "You think you're going to Heaven, and I'm going to Hell," Lewis sings at one point before trading places toward the end of the song. (Feels like that directly applies to at least two exes of mine, lolz. Okay, maybe three.) 

It's a very interesting choice for an opener, but there's something about this song - which is pretty and certainly not at all a bad song - that falls flat. I can't place my finger quite on it, but I am not sure it is as strong as it could be. My friend and I were discussing "On the Line" via Instagram the other day, and she pointed out that the production felt off in places. I think "Heads Gonna Roll" is a prime example of that - it's a song you can imagine, done acoustically, would bring a crowd to an awe-inspired hush. But on the album? It aims to soar, but it doesn't fully make it there. 


So what about "Heads Will Roll?" For sure, it's an older song - going on a decade now, but the sound of this track is classic. It's completely different than "Heads Gonna Roll," so I will acknowledge this isn't really a fair comparison (lol). One song is meant to either cry or smoke cigarettes sullenly to, and the other is meant to dance your ass off to after a few drinks on a Friday night. It was dance rock at its best with a touch of new wave - indie with an edge. "It's Blitz" was a wonderful album, and I can tell you that I've gone to several parties in the past few years that have involved at least one of the tracks off the album. I'm not sure exactly how it will be remembered in another decade, but I would err on the side of reverence.



So, in this round, I would pick "Heads Will Roll" - it's sharp, it slaps, it holds up. But ultimately, I do like Jenny Lewis's discography and work with Rilo Kiley much better than the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Karen O's solo efforts, so who truly wins here?! Probably no one. Certainly *not* me.

Next time, I will be pitting Phantogram against Lana Del Rey. That's what's coming next in subjectivity! 

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