Top Ten Albums of 2012: # 1

Jens-Lekman-I-Know-What-Love-Isnt-e1339079328406

1. Jens Lekman – I KNOW WHAT LOVE ISN’T

I named his last album, Night Falls Over Kortedala my favorite of 2007, although its impact has faded for me over time. So, with many flashier, more obvious candidates to pick from, how is Jens once again responsible for my favorite album of the year? He doesn’t exactly pick up where Kortedala left off, although rest assured his lovably droopy voice and sardonic sense of humor are still intact—perhaps even more hangdog and acerbic than before. He’s also more genuinely world-weary, having apparently faced his share of heartbreak between the two albums (not to mention a bout of swine flu). He’s even called this record his “debut album” (although it’s actually his fourth) and it distinguishes itself by largely eschewing Kortedala’s sample-heavy aesthetic for a more organic, mostly acoustic palette that ranges from guitar-and-vocal simplicity (“Every Little Hair Knows Your Name”) to full-blown sophisti-pop (“Some Dandruff On Your Shoulder”—the warmest sounding tune he’s ever written). Lyrically, Lekman’s still nearly infatuated with heartbreak, but rather than sentimentalizing it or wallowing in self-pity, he plays the part of wizened observer (one astute chorus goes, “You don’t get over a broken heart / You just learn to carry it gracefully.”). What’s really so wonderfully affecting about Lekman is that he never suggests he’s entirely given up on love; you always sense his yearning to participate in the madness of it all, even if he doesn’t explicitly say so. With I Know What Love Isn’t, he’s found the ideal music and melodies for this pursuit—compelling, kind, and just a bit tart. For me, no other record this year has come close to matching its emotional pull.

Favorite tracks: “Some Dandruff On Your Shoulder”, “I Know What Love Isn’t”, “Erica America”, “She Just Don’t Want To Be With You Anymore”, “The End of The World Is Bigger Than Love”, “Become Someone Else’s”

Video for “I Know What Love Isn’t”:

Video for “The End of The World Is Bigger Than Love”:

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One Response to Top Ten Albums of 2012: # 1

  1. Howard says:

    I seriously thought I had started a The Boy Least Likely To song. Will definitely be picking this up.

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