Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala
Released 5 September 2007 on Service/Secretly Canadian
This is hugely sentimental album for me now, but I’ll get to that in a minute. I basically feel like Jens Lekman is just a really cool person who I’d super like to be pals with. His music is sometimes hit and miss with me, but more hits than misses, so we’ll look past that. I think my favourite thing about Mr Lekman is his lyrics. They’re usually so very personal and autobiographical, but mostly about every day things. A perfect example of this is how there’s a song on this album called “Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo" (closing lyrics ‘a daydream, I’m caught up in limbo Friday night at the drive-in bingo’), which is about exactly what you think it is (along with being a criticism of how narrow minded a lot of country dwellers can be). Now, Friday night bingo is hardly something I would have thought to be a very good topic for a song, but clearly i was very mistaken, because this is actually one of the highlights of the album for me. Maybe I shouldn’t start an ode to a record with how good the closing track is, but whatever.
So. we’ll start from the beginning, the opener, “And I Remember Every Kiss" is also a high point, as a stand alone song, but moreso as a really good way to open an album, the build up to the crescendo of the first chorus as he sings about how he’ll never forget his first kiss is pretty wonderful. The third track, "The Opposite of Hallelujah" (this is a beautiful Brass Trees Sessions video) is probably my second favourite on this album, I don’t want to use words like lovely too much, but it is just really lovely, this record is mostly really lovely.
I say that it’s my second favourite song on here, because my very favourite is “Your Arms Around Me”. Most people will probably know this from the very lovely swimming pool scene in ‘Whip It’, and some people will be cross about that because they are tools, but I am not a tool and this is where I also fell in love with it. I’d heard a few of his songs before, but watching that was what made me fall down an internet hole of listening to this album, and his other songs, and buying his albums and doing a whole bunch of swooning. It makes my heart feel full, right from the opening line of “I was slicing up an avocado…” to the beautiful string fade out at the end (yep, it fades out, but it’s so good that I don’t even care). Another reason that I’m so very much in love with this song is that I’m also very much in love with a fellow Jens fan and we recently decided that this is one of ‘our songs’. The other one is a Bad Manners song about lager, but swings and roundabouts.
Now that I’ve stopped being super soppy, my other personal highlights are “A Postcard to Nina”, a lovely song about a real, fake relationship Jens had with a gay woman to appease her not so liberal parents, “I’m Leaving You Because I Don’t Love You”, which is exactly the sort of song you expect with that title and “It Was a Strange Time in My Life" (this one contains the excellent line "I flirted with a girl in sign language ‘cause she was deaf").
It’s not all total perfection, ”Sipping on the Sweet Nectar" is a bit too jazz hands for me, and I don’t quite know what that means, but that’s exactly how I feel about it. I’m also not overly fond of "Into Eternity”, but if my opinion of the weakest track on a record is just that it’s alright, I think we’re still doing pretty well.