Jens-ational


For anyone clicking on this post hoping for new news about Swedish singer/songwriter Jens Lekman, you are SOL. This is more of a meet and greet for people who are just hearing about the guy. Jens is a prolific artist, who has released, and subsequently re-released some fantastic material on the Secretly Canadian label.


The interesting thing about Jens is that he never wants to release a legitimate album. He only wants to release collections of singles. This actually suits him perfectly. Not only does he write songs with a crazy amount of diversity, he is like the jerseys David Stern won’t let young NBA-ers wear to press conferences. He’s a throwback to the 50’s and 60’s. Jens revisits the time when artists marketed singles, not complete albums. This mixes well with the style of music he creates. He combines the structure of 50s and 60s pop with the modern bass lines and rhythms (think at times Caribou and the Avalanches). His vocals reminds me of some pretty fantastic singers, like Morrissey – for the humorous crooning, Jonathan Richman – whimsical, Stuart Murdoch – twee styling, and Mr. Merritt from the Magnetic Fields. Still not interested? Well you might be on the wrong site then, especially since we don’t know Randy Orton.

His latest album, “Your so silent, Jens”, is actually a re-issue of previously released material from his Rocky Dennis (yes, the dude from Mask – which became Jens alias) and Maple Leaves EPs, the You Are the Light single and some b-sides and outtakes. These releases help show off Jens diversity. For more in depth reviews of Jens work, just check out Pitchfork or PopMatters. These EPs have some absolutely fantastic songs, like “Black Cab”, “Pocketful of Money”, “Maple Leaves” and “Jens Lekman’s Farewell Song to Rocky Dennis”. There are some songs that leave you flat, but the combination of lyrics, instrumentation, drum machine beats and great pop hooks makes me think Jens could write the soundtrack to every movie ever released.

On Pocketful of Money, Jens uses finger snaps, piano, and a creative Beat Happenings sample to make the chorus of this song sound like a duet with Tom Waits. The extended repetition of “I’ll come running with a heart on fire” draws me in every time I hear the song. Black cab is a lovely pop song where Jens openly admits he is not the life of a party, and is depressed. Well being depressed never sounded so good. Hoping the cab driver doesn’t talk to him at the end of the night is a situation we’ve all been through, especially after going home alone. My favorite song on the collection is the ballad, Jens Lekman's Farewell Song To Rocky Dennis. This song is just a beautiful combination of Jen’s voice, piano and some nice finger snaps. The lyrics to this song are top shelf.

The EPS are all out-of-print, so Secretly Canadian did us all a favor by amassing this collection. Take my word for it – this CD is worth the money.

Secretly Canadian is also offering up Black Cab and You are the Light for free….. Merry Christmas.


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