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Oh You're So Silent Jens

4.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 22, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Preceding his successful debut full length, When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog, Jens Lekman released into the world three little gems. Gems that didn't reach as far as the LP...but damn, were those perfect nuggets. This is the collection of all three out-of-print eps as well as some hard to find out-takes from the harder to find Dept. Of Forgotten Songs. Secretly Canadian. 2005.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. At the Dept. of Forgotten Songs
  2. Maple Leaves [EP Version]
  3. Sky Phenomenon
  4. Pocketful of Money
  5. Black Cab
  6. Someone to Share My Life With
  7. Rocky Dennis' Farewell Song
  8. Rocky Dennis in Heaven
  9. Jens Lekman's Farewell Song to Rocky Dennis
  10. Julie [Remix]
  11. I Saw Her in the Anti-War Demonstration
  12. A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill
  13. A Man Walks into a Bar
  14. Another Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill
  15. F-Word
  16. The Wrong Hands
  17. Maple Leaves [7" Version]


Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 22, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Secretly Canadian
  • ASIN: B000BKUX06
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,358 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I think the other reviewers on here have done justice to this album. But I like this record so much, I felt compelled to pay it tribute. It is a phenomenal collection of heartfelt and delicately witty songs from Swedish singer/songwriter Jens Lekman--a compilation of his work over the last few years. He has said he doesn't intend to record another album ever again, which will pretty much make him the Arthur Rimbaud of chamber pop, so it's best to savour what there is of this somewhat demure, elusively charming song-poet.

As for the production of the album itself, well let's see...pretend you head off to London for a much-needed break and you go record shopping (your first planned activity, of course) at some used record shop, and you're rifling through crates of old vinyl and you stumble upon some 7" by the Left Banke that has literally been gathering dust since 1971, and you go to your friend's apartment in Notting Hill, and she has pink hair and makes her own jewelry and has a turntable naturally, and you play the thing and it just makes you ache with all its scratchy loveliness and you hold the thing to your chest and swear no one has heard any of this before you, and no one deserves to again. That's kinda close.

Lekman channels the almost-apologetic fragility of Nick Drake in his soft vocals and has clearly studied up on the Stephin Merritt catalogue and written copious notes on the Life and Times of Morrissey. His lyrics are wry and pained and whimsical, touched by shades of anguish and despair that are neither frustrating nor suffocating to the listener.
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Format: Audio CD
One of the most intimate and heartbreaking musicians out there right now is Swedish singer/songwriter Jens Lekman. Coming off as a witty cross between Beck, Nick Drake, and early Todd Rundgren, Lekman has a distinctive sound to his music, as well as a distinctive voice, showing that while he may not have mastered the English dialect, he has certainly mastered its vocabulary. "A man walks into a bar/orders a scotch and a bottle of coke/But the laughter has gone in his heart/You never told me the end of the joke," he laments on his new album Oh You're So Silent Jens, a compilation of EP tracks and rarities, but could as easily be confused for a full-length LP, as each song fits beautifully among the others. Lekman not only shows songwriting prowess, he also proves his worth behind the soundboard. All of Lekman's vocals have an eerie echo effect added, making it sound like the entire album was recorded in some long-abandoned high school auditorium. The lo-fi quality of the recordings lend to the intimacy of the songs, making the clean, seemingly effortless acoustic guitar appearing at the start of "Black Cab" quite jarring, but equally entertaining. Other songs stand out as well: the cut-and-paste bells of "Rocky Dennis' Farewell Song," making it sound like a Jem outtake; the dark humor of "F-Word," complete with a radio-friendly chorus; and the soothing "Maple Leaves," featuring every bell and whistle (literally) at Lekman's disposal. You'd be hard pressed to find a single bad song on this album. Oh You're So Silent Jens is a perfect introduction to this talented musician, and also succeeds on its own terms as an album that's scientifically designed to be enjoyed most anywhere: in a car, at home, at work, but most importantly, with someone you love.
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Format: Audio CD
What can you say about a guy who writes and orchestrates stuff that sounds, at first, like sappy Europop, but with lines like "someday I'll be stuffed in some museum, scaring little kids, with the inscription carpe diem, something I never did" (Rocky Dennis' Farewell Song)? Or, "Black Cab," about how he ruined the party ("well, maybe I did, maybe I did") and missed the tram.

These songs with orchestrations as if songs for a six year old, so sweet with pretty clattery notes, all morph into something different when you listen to the lyrics. The contrast between the topics/lyrics and melodies/arrangements are mind-twisting.

Listen to "I Saw Her in the AntiWar Demonstration," pulling in and turning the stereotypical 1960s hippie theme phrase into something that's cynical and bittersweet.

Or, in "Another Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill," a song about the horrible physical abuse he's seen schoolmates inflict on those who are different, after neutrally describing the police coming to free a girl who'd been attacked by schoolmates for being different, he sings that she's now free to grow up to be a cynical writer. Crickets chirp in the background throughout the song -- macabre and funny at the same time.

Or, "f-word, f-word, pardon my French, but it's b.s., b.s."

These strange juxtapositions make you stop and think. You can't not listen.

I want to write words like melancholy, cynical, bittersweet, pensive, wistful, but it doesn't begin to do justice to the humorous twists in lyrics, the outright funniness of it, and the cockeyed intensity of his view of the world, especially given the paradoxical orchestrations.

Words fail me. Just listen. I agree with the 'tagger' -- Cool.
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