Late Bloomer

Album: The Voyager (2014)
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Songfacts®:

  • Jenny Lewis worked on this coming-of-age tune for several years, gradually developing the story of meeting a fellow music lover called Nancy in Europe. She told Paste magazine the core of the song was based on her own experiences: "When I was a teenager, I went to Europe on a backpacking trip by myself, and I met a woman who was following Sebadoh," Lewis said. "It was the early 1990s, and that was my introduction to indie rock."
  • Lewis recalled that after she played the song to The Voyager producer Ryan Adams, his reaction was frustration. "It agitated him," said Lewis. "He didn't know what to do with it because he thought it was so confessional. It's not confessional, Ryan!"

    Adams sent her to work on the tune with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench. "Benmont f--king Tench! That made me so nervous," said Lewis. "But he looked at me and said, 'I know exactly what to do with it.'"
  • In the song's final verse, Lewis and Nancy hook up with their hero, singer-instrumentalist Lou Barlow of Sebadoh/Dinosaur Jr. Barlow actually sings on the track. "I sent the song to him and told him the story behind it," Lewis recalled. "I was totally surprised that he actually came into the studio, because it was a bit stalker-y on my part. It was the most meta thing I've ever done."

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