Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Jens Lekman / Oh You're So Silent Jens / Rating 8.5

Jens is cheese, chocolate, strawberries, and something tangy to wash it down with

Sex And The City Quotation
Charlotte: I am so confused. Is he gay or is he straight?
Carrie: Well, it's not that simple anymore. The real question is, is he a straight gay man or is he a gay straight man?
Carrie : The gay straight man was a new strain of heterosexual male spawned in Manhattan as the result of overexposure to fashion, exotic cuisine, musical theatre and antique furniture.

The indie rock community has a boy version of this. He collects K records as dutifully as he keeps track of Belle and Sebastian’s newest releases. He is better at finding great vintage dresses at the thrift store than his girlfriend. His baked tofu actually has flavor and this kind of boy doesn’t just know what a skin product line is, he owns it and uses it twice daily. Modern furniture collector, expensive lifestyle magazine subscriber, and open crier at movies, this is the twee-as-you-wanna-be modern day cuddle-core man. (Twee as fuck was the 20th century man)

Enter Jens Lekman, a man who sings about love and woman but also can be quoted in a PM interview as saying :

PM: Speaking of fighting, you and the Kings of Convience are playing Boston on the same night. Who'd win in a fight between you and the Kings?

JL: I don't wanna fight the Kings. I wanna sleep with them. Erlend is a good friend and he's hot.

So you tell me is Jens a gay straight man or a straight gay man? When we are talking about this kind of this sexless yet romantic indiepop channeled into crowd pleasing songs, the question at hand is better left unanswered and this ongoing mystery feeds into the music’s melodramatic androgynous charm.

Sixty plus minutes of Depeche Mode piano ballads and arrangements that make Morrissey and the Magnetic Fields sound macho didn’t have the aura of an instant hit record for me. I like music to hug platonic friends by as much as the next but the bitter I heard it all before music nerd in me approached Jens Lekman with a raised eyebrow and arms folded.

With each song my body language softened and by the third listen I have decided I am a fan. My original instinct to attack the PFM 8.5 rating has virtually been erased and while the actual review has traces of teenybopper fluff (the whole no girlfriend angle as its foundation) I will spare it any harsh criticism.

I am not quite as awe struck by it on the whole (a 7 by my rating) but each song’s unique personality leaves me feeling as satiated as I feel when I listen to the Rough indiepop 1 collection. Quaint, perfectly imperfect, cleverly stated, and from an oversized heart “Oh you’re so silent Jens” will thaw even the most jaded frosty critic.

(Spare me your frigid jokes please)

My only question is this. Track 4 "Pocketful of Money" uses a Beat Happening sample but there is no credit given for it anywhere in the cd booklet or cover art. What gives?