Rilo Kiley Taps Too $hort For Collection of Rarities

Categories: new releases
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Rilo Kiley, back when they existed

In case you haven't heard by now, indie band Rilo Kiley released a selection of B-sides and rarities yesterday under the clever title RKives. Though some in the blogosphere are ruminating about how this collection of songs by the defunct Silverlake quartet should have remained on the cutting room floor, the band managed to cleverly trick this Feral blogger into paying for a download of the remixed song "Dejalo." Originally off the 2007 album Under the Blacklight, the song features the normally folky lead songstress Jenny Lewis pseudo-rapping about being "ready to go." (Snarf snarf.)

On RKives, "Dejalo" gets a new coat of paint thanks to rapper Too $hort who provides saucy rhymes over the remixed tune. The Oakland rapper who's enjoyed a long career stretching back to the early 90s once rhymed about his pregnant sister smoking crack in the ghetto. But in "Dejalo," he ditches the social commentary in favor of standard boasts about pimp life. 

"I line all the women up in a row. Yeah I'm a pimp, she don't know" raps Too $hort. "I got another chick on the phone."

Though we count ourselves among the more rabid of Rilo Kiley supporters, this tune misses the mark in terms of the quality fans have come to expect from the band, known for such gems as "A Man/Me/Then Jim" and "Close Call." Sounding more like a generic club remix, with its twinkling synth loops and thumping electronic drums, Too $hort's vocals sit clumsily atop the arrangement and sound as if they were recorded in a bathroom stall.

Whatever the band's thinking behind the track, (clever marketing gimmick or hipster irony), it's well documented that Lewis has a deep fondness for hip hop. Back in 2006 she listed a slew of rap albums that had changed her life for Spin Magazine including NWA's Straight Outta Compton, the Beatie Boys Paul's Boutique as well as the work of Too $hort. 

But after the 2007 release of Under the Blacklight, things took a turn for the worse and Rilo Kiley publicly split. Speaking to Spinner.com in 2011 about the band's demise, guitarist Blake Sennett expressed disappointment with Under the Blacklight, saying it was recorded under pressure. He specifically mentioned the song "Dejalo" which he said was "ok" but added that there were much better songs that didn't make the final cut. In the same article, he pointed cryptically to "deception, disloyalty and greed," as the reasons behind the band's demise, but backpedalled from that position in a follow-up statement.

Lending solace to those who hold out hope for an RK reunion, both Sennett and Lewis have continued to play Rilo Kiley songs as part of their solo repertoires. Last June when Lewis performed at Santa Ana's Observatory, she rocked a handful of RK tunes including "Portions for Foxes," and "Silver Lining." 

So the question looms, is there a chance Rilo Kiley will put aside their differences and ditch the clumsy attempts at former child-star thuggery to once again shine as in the days of More Adventurous? Let's take a moment to enjoy the kitchiness of the new "Dejalo" and hope the band manages to patch things up.

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