Last month, everyones favorite Swedish singer songwriter, Jens Lekman, released a new album: Life Will See You Know. Frenzied Fangirl will be attending his show in Utrecht next month, and let me tell you why you should be there or be square.
I’ve strenuously avoided writing about music since the birth of this blog; I find it nearly impossible. After all, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” Impossible. I’d love to be able to do it though; to tell you why some music appeals to me, why some music makes me cry, and some music makes me want to live a radically different life. I figured the easiest way to start is by writing about an artist I feel strongly about, and since I absolute LOVE Jens, this is as good a time as any to get started.
For starters, I should mention that Lekman’s first album, When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog, is still my favorite of his, and it’s also in my top 10 albums of all time. My favorite of his songs is You Are The Light. Understandably, I was disappointed when Jens didn’t play one at the gig I attended a few years ago. Afterwards, he was at the merchandise booth to sign CD’s, and asked me whether I’d enjoyed the show. I said I’d loved it, but I was sorry he’d not performed my favorite song. So Jens sang it in my ear for me, right there, right then, acoustic. Yeah, he’s that kind of guy.
Apart from the fact that Jens Lekman is obviously an all-around wonderful human being, he’s also a super witty and inventive lyricist and a melodious, careful musician. His newest album has more of an overarching theme than his early work, which was mostly just collections of beautiful songs. Life Will See You Now is about the struggles of deciding what to do with your time on earth, and Jens presents a clear answer: love (How Can I Tell Him), be loved (Our First Fight), do something to make the people around you happy (To Know Your Mission), and have some fun along the way (Hotwire The Ferris Wheel). Also, be a supportive friend. That’s the most important message, I think.
So now I’ve analyzed Jens on the level of his personality and the themes of his lyrics. Here comes the tough bit: I’ll attempt to describe how the music makes me feel, what its emotional impact on me is and how it achieves those goals musically.
His fragile singing voice is definitely a big part of the impact of these songs for me. I grew up listening to that voice. When I was a confused teenager, he was there. The sound of the new album, however, is radically different from such simplistic gems as If You Ever Need A Stranger. By contrast, the new album is produced with much more fanfare, so that almost every track sounds upbeat and reminiscent of disco. Somehow it’s interesting throughout, in spite of this unity of sound. I’m rambling like a pretentious tw*t. Sorry. Just go listen to it.
Edith on April 20th 2017: At Jens’s most recent concert, I got to play the tambourine.