JENNY LEWIS The Voy­ager (Warner Bros.)

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In the early 2000s, Jenny Lewis’ plain- spo­ken song­writ­ing and keen sense of de­tail en­deared Rilo Ki­ley, her band at the time, to le­gions of young fans. Whether her songs were strictly con­fes­sional or not, they seemed jour­nal­is­tic to the point where you felt like you knew her. In 2014, with Rilo Ki­ley long since ended, an al­bum from Lewis feels like a wel­come email from an old friend — it’s just nice to hear from her and see how she’s do­ing. Lewis is now 38, and this al­bum finds her wrestling with con­cerns of mar­riage and monogamy, watch­ing her bi­o­log­i­cal clock, and cop­ing with the loss of a par­ent. Pro­duced by Ryan Adams, The Voy­ager is a ro­bust record, one that sheds Lewis’ coun­try in­flu­ences in fa­vor of cheer­ful, big-sound­ing pop. The re­lent­lessly up­beat tone brings out the ur­gency of the lyrics. (“I’ve been los­ing sleep, and I can­not sit still,” she sings in “Head Un­der­wa­ter,” a song that kicks off the al­bum with the top­ics of in­som­nia and mor­tal­ity.) She still nails the de­tails — “John’s been avidly read­ing Slash’s bio,” she notes in the va­ca­tion-from-hell tale “Aloha & The Three Johns.” Her voice is in fine form, and her wit and pen­chant for pop hooks re­main. The al­bum may be one of those on Lewis’ learn­ing curve, but when it hits, it hits hard — es­pe­cially if you’ve grown up with her. — Robert Ker

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