“My forties are kicking my ass/And handing them to me in a margarita glass.” In a smooth opening line that makes Christopher Cross look like an amateur sailor, Jenny Lewis kicks off “Puppy and a Truck” with a realistic view of her life, complete with unconditional love from her dog and a pedal steel guitar. Welcome to Lewis’ yacht-rock era. Pour a drink and stay a while.
As most of her hardcore or even mediumcore fans know, Lewis got a cockapoo back in February, naming her Bobby Rhubarb, after Bob Dylan. She even has an Instagram account devoted to the pup, with captions quoting Dylan songs as recent as “Black Rider” and as early as “Spanish Is the Loving Tongue.” With Bobby Rhubarb as her muse, she encourages us to embrace the finer things in life on “Puppy and a Truck” — specifically, the finer things that fall into the categories of animal and/or vehicle. “If you feel like giving up, shut up,” she sings. “Get a puppy and a truck.”
Lewis has reflected on her age before — particularly on “Wasted Youth” from her 2019 solo album On the Line — but she’s never sounded this candid and whimsical. And with the dawn of a new presidency and an ongoing global pandemic, she needs some time to process. “So I’m 44 in 2020, and thank god I saved up some money,” she sings. “Time to ruminate, like, what the fuck was that?”
For the bridge, Lewis proclaims, “I don’t got no kids! I don’t got no kids!” which is reminiscent of Bo Burnham’s “30” — you know, the one where he happily sang, “All my stupid friends are having stupid children/Stupid, fucking ugly, boring children” — except more gentle and elegant. Lewis doesn’t really care about your children. She’s just happy they aren’t hers.
“Puppy and a Truck” is Lewis’ first solo music in two years. She debuted the song opening for Harry Styles in Las Vegas back in September, to a sea of Gen Zers who have probably never had the pleasure of seeing The Wizard. It’s unclear if we’re getting more Lewis music in the near future, but in the meantime, we can sit back and soak up the bliss.