The first song I heard of Jens Lekman was “Your Arms Around Me” from his album Night Falls Over Kortedala. The song is about accidentally cutting yourself while slicing an avocado and being rushed to the emergency room. It seems that not much has changed, as the second song on this album “Evening Prayer” is about a man missing a tumor that was removed from his body so much that he prints a 3D image of it that he carries around. Don’t let the weird subject matter deter you, though, Lekman’s music also manages to be upbeat while asking deep questions. “Evening Prayer” discusses how well you should know someone before it is acceptable to deeply care for them. “How I prayed that I could stop the pain/ When the pain needed more than ibuprofen/ How I prayed that I could take away your worries/ When they ran deeper than the West Pacific Ocean.”
My favorite song on the album that I’ve been listening to for weeks is “What’s That Perfume That you Wear?”, and it is solely for the steel drum. The tropical feel of the song combined with olfactory imagery (which I’ve never seen so stressed in a song before) of sandlewood, lavender, jasmine, the ocean, etc. makes it impossible to not relax and have fun while listening to this song. This is completely contrasted with the next song, “Our First Fight”. The song features maraccas, castanets, and acoustic guitar, but the main focus is Lekman’s amazing harmonies.
The next couple songs fell a little flat for me, but I really enjoyed “How Can I Tell Him”. It’s a love song that is very different from the love song in “Put Your Arms Around Me” in that the friendship and possivle relationship between these two guys is the main focus of the song. “He’s my best friend/ And we can talk about anything/ As long it’s about nothing/ As long as it don’t cut deeper than the skin/ Tell me how/ Tell me how I can tell him I love him.” Lekman’s voice with the instrumentals sounds incredibly heartbroken, something I wasn’t expecting considering the first half of the album.
If I thought “How Can I Tell Him” was sad, “Postcard #17″ was completely depressing, which is exactly the point. If you just say its name/ Three times in front of the mirror/ Its pale face will appear/ Grinning in the corner/ And you turn around/ And you study its particulars/ You say: ‘Is that what I was scared of?’ ” Lekman goes on to repeat “It’s all in your head” several times, which points to depression or some other mental illness.
The album ends with “Dandelion Seed”, which is thankfully more upbeat than the last two songs. Lekman seems very introspective about someone named Lisa, who was very outgoing, while Lekman “couldn’t really see/ How I built a bomb shelter under every dream/ And how I slowly came to be a dandelion seed/ Blaming the wind for where it carried me.” Life Will See You Now experimented with so many different things, and I thought that this song did a great job pulling everything together.
By: Monica Brich