We - OK, I - kick off the list with an inclusion that probably surprises me more than you.
I liked Rabbit Fur Coat a lot on first listen, but couldn't see myself becoming completely enamoured with it. Good tunes, nice production, decent voice - I'll take it, I thought, but I won't take it with me to a desert island (in the unlikely event of being able to choose what I could take with me to a place I am forced to spent the rest of my life (take that, Radio 4)).
Yet I found myself going back to this album again and again. It is, quite simply, a very good album.
At its purest, Rabbit Fur Coat is a portrait of a youngish woman losing her faith in God but generally being pretty OK with it. It's an odd approach, but as miserably touching/touchingly miserable sulk Born Secular shows, it can work if pitched just the right side of cynicism. Lewis' heart isn't in the gospel refrain Run Devil Run; she's much more content sharing beers with her friends and praying once a week just because "it's a surefire bet [she's] gonna die" (lyrics from standout track The Charging Sky).
Clearly, a blues album this ain't, even if leading ballad Happy is the most misleading song title since Ironic. No, Lewis seems quite accepting of God's apparent absence, albeit in less of a live-fast-die-young way; more, "Well, since I'm going to die anyway I might as well listen to more Bob Dylan."
Indeed, the Minnesotan minstrel is a heavy influence on this album. Folk-tinged melodies, lyrics that steadfastly refuse to do something so boring as fit into metre or, y'know, make sense - Rabbit Fur Coat as a whole is more of a Dylan tribute than The Charging Sky's reference to his '80s beard or the cover of the Traveling Wilburys' Handle With Care (dutifully handled with care).
But that's perhaps doing Lewis a disservice. Her songs are intelligent and tender in equal measure, and there's an honest poetry in her lyrics:
Are you really that pure, sir?
Thought I saw you in Vegas
It was not pretty - but she was
It's throwaway lines like that, I think, that keep me coming back to this album. Good tunes, nice production, decent voice - plus genuine wit and wisdom.
So there's the first, slightly overlong review - of #30, Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins' Rabbit Fur Coat, released in 2006. And I managed all that without once mentioning Rilo Kiley, Lewis' acting or Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie and The Postal Service turning up in Handle With Care.