Those of you who’ve been with us from the beginning know of our deep love for Jens Lekman. I was infatuated with his “Black Cab” single for most of 2004 (my post has since disappeared but the song kicked off this vintage podcast). Then Lisa broke down everything that’s right about Jens with his 2007 album, Night Falls Over Kortedala. Now it’s 2017, Jens is 36 years old, and he’s in many ways the same Jens – an open book of a songwriter who can take you deep into his heartache without trafficking in self-indulgence. What’s changed is his production repertoire. Once relying on minimal accompaniment to seal the intimate feel of his songs, his latest, Life Will See You Now, moves his heartbreak and introspection to the dancefloor in a way that’s both absurd and earnest at once.
The opening track, “Know Your Mission”, recounts his encounter with a Mormon missionary in 1997. It starts with spare piano and Jens’ familiar sing-speaking, then breaks into a ridiculous party beat only to return to form by the end. “How We Met, the Long Version” brings Jens’ habit of hyperbole to a Soul Train-worthy crescendo. He tells a condensed history of the earth that culminates in a fateful kiss in the backyard. Why the sudden passion for calypso, samba, and disco? I’m not sure, but I’m going to chalk it up to maturity. Jens has become more comfortable stepping outside of himself with his lyrics. And he’s willing to let his hair down (so to speak) to remind us his songs are, after all, just words set to music.
[We have Life Will See You Now on limited edition orange vinyl – in the 3hive Co-op Shop, while supplies last.]