Papillon is an indie rock song by Rilo Kiley, composed by Blake Sennett and Jenny Lewis. It was first released as track 1 on the Sandbox Sessions 05/02/98 demo in 1998, but a more properly produced version was included on the Rilo Kiley demo album in 1999. It's track 4 on the first pressing and track 2 on the second and track 2 on The Initial Friend EP. Despite being on every one of their early albums, this song was rarely played live. The song, a duet between Jenny and Blake, is named after the 1973 Steve McQueen film Papillon, and the lyrics reference the movie, but the bulk of the song is about Blake's frustrating relationship with Morgan Nagler.
I've never been able to find a contribution breakdown for this song, but Jenny and Blake both sing vocals, Blake most likely plays guitar, Dave Rock most likely played drums, and Pierre de Reeder probably played bass. Keyboards were probably played by Jenny or Pierre.
I heard this song shortly after becoming a fan of the band in the early 2000s, either from finding it on Kazaa or given to me by a friend, and it quickly became a favorite. I like the song's lo-fi synthesizer intro with the muted giggling. Jenny's vocals have a wonderful childlike quality to them which is fitting for a youth relationship. I really relate to the lyrics having had a few girlfriends like how Morgan is described.
- youtube.com/watch?v=BgpvQnxaAdM - Album version.
- youtube.com/watch?v=e4msU1coiVs - Sandbox Sessions version.
- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Initial_Friend - Wikipedia page for the Rilo Kiley demo.