Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Jens Lekman

For some reason I've been working on the "J" section of my iTunes list for the last day or two, which has meant a lot of Jack Johnson and his new Sing-A-Longs & Lullibies From the Film Curious George and, luckily, Jens Lekman's Oh You're So Silent, Jens.

Feeling kind of sick last night gave me the chance to really take some time and give it a good listen.

I read about this album when it came out and picked up the song "Black Cab" shortly afterwards. After spending some time with that song, I decided it was time to hear some more. Lekman's music has a very vintage sound that sets him apart from his peers. He's part Bacharach, part Drake, part Elliott Smith.

The whole of Oh, You're So Silent, Jens is various incarnations of good -- ranging from spectacular to interesting to respectable -- though one might anticipate some unevenness from an album that was culled from various EPs, singles and outtakes released over a period of several years. Regardless, it's a good album for lazy Sundays and sick days.

I think Jens' strongest quality is his lyrics; he somehow makes lines work that you won't expect (and even finds ways to earn partial credit for those that fall short).
"She said, 'We were just make believe' / But I thought she said 'maple leaves'"
-- Maple Leaves

Even a song like "A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill" has a great line that lends the song some weight to justify its spiral into a '60s doo-wop toss off sung by a chorus of available friends or just passers-by, turning a throw away track into a quirky, respectable gem:
"Oh I still remember 'Regulate' with Warren G / Could I be back in the sweet summer of 1993? / It was a sweet summer's night on Hammer Hill"
-- A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill

Lekman's songs remind me of tiny Wes Anderson movies, filled with characters flawed and failing, endearing, unique and immesurably interesting.
"Now there's nothing left / but love, enough to feed a family / Well, I just wanna feed Emily / with lukewarm English beer and vegan pancakes"
-- I Saw Her at the Anti-War Demonstration

"What will you do when you graduate? / If you stay here you will suffocate / And all your friends are moving to London / While the cherry trees are still in blossom / Oh Julie, I'm a firecracker"
-- Julie (remix)

If you like these, you can find more on both emusic and iTunes.

Jens Lekman || Maple Leaves (EP version)
Jens Lekman || Pocketful of Money
Jens Lekman || Black Cab

Jens has a few other songs for download at his website, here.
You can read a recent interview with him at Pitchfork.

(Songs are hosted by and will be live until they have been inactive for 30 days. Songs are for sampling purposes only, please support the artists whenever and however possible.)

1 comment:

Katie said...

Can I get a review on the new Jack Johnson? I haven't heard any of it and would like to know if I should invest...