13 (Rilo Kiley Song)

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13 is another in a long line of favorite songs from the band Rilo Kiley. It's track 6 on their early demo CD, Sandbox Sessions 05/02/98. While I don't know of any concrete composer information, I'd wager that it was written by Jenny Lewis, with guitar work from Blake Sennett.

Being such an early song, and one that never received proper production, the tune is still a bit raw, however, it shows that Rilo Kiley was a more-than-capable group right from the get go. Like most of Jenny's early songs, it's autobiographical and even a bit whiny, but it still makes you empathize with her. Because the song is highly structured, some of the lyrics sound a bit forced, but overall, I find the song to be highly enjoyable.

Each verse has Jenny talking about her younger years and who she was attracted to at the time, and how she would take them into her fantasies. It starts with her as 13, taking the boys from her favorite bands into the bedroom in her mind, at 14 she has a lesbian crush on punk rock girls, who she takes to the closet in her mind. I love how the location always changes, but fits the type of person she's so attracted to. As she ages, she seems to become more self-destructive and like more kinky things, until she reaches her 20's where even after she's peaked, she's still not giving up.

I also like the brief but pleasant guitar riff after the third verse, and how the choruses, though repetitive, change in tone as the song continues. The fact that she is lonely, but still likes herself carries weight with me as well. Even when I can't find someone to accept me for who I am, I still like myself. However, the way the song ends, on kind of a down note, makes it seem like she's just saying this mantra to try and convince herself that she likes who she is, but that may not be the case.

The song makes me think about how, when we're young, the people we're attracted to are incredibly different from the people we're attracted to when we're older despite the fact that we're still the same person. It's just staggering how a little bit of wisdom can change our views so much.

Lyrics

When I was thirteen I liked the boys on the TV shows
Teen Beat posters pasted up on my window
And I took them to the bedroom in my mind
When I was fourteen I liked the girls in the punk rock bands
That sexy lady Lorna Doom, she was my man
And I took her to the closet in my mind

I think I'm lonely but I like it this way
She thinks she's lonely but she likes it this way
I guess I'm lonely but I'm comfortable this way
I know I'm lonely but I like myself

When I was fifteen I liked the boys with the rap
Shooting me with their b.b.'s and all that fucked up crap
And I took them to the valley in my mind
When I was sixteen I liked the man with the stand-up bass
Talking slow in that real smoky place
And I took them to the joint in my mind

I think I'm lonely but I like it this way
She thinks she's lonely but she likes it this way
I guess I'm lonely but I'm comfortable this way
I know I'm lonely but I like myself

When I was seventeen I liked the ladies in the ad
Strutting swiftly what I know I never had
And I took them to the Paris in my mind
Now I'm eighteen and I like the ones without a face
Getting off in that real dirty place
And I take them to Western or is it Vine?

I think I'm lonely but I like it this way
She thinks she's lonely but she likes it this way
I guess I'm lonely but I'm comfortable this way
I know I'm lonely but I like myself

Nineteen, shit
Twenty, peaked
Twenty-one, I ain't done
So I take them to Western or is it Vine?

I think I'm lonely but I like it this way
She thinks she's lonely but she likes it this way
I guess I'm lonely but I'm comfortable this way
I know I'm lonely but I like myself

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