"A Summer in 3/4 Time," Jens Lekman has been quietly touring the world, playing his music, but not churning out a whole lot new material. That feels especially savage considering Night Falls Over Kortedala came out way back in 2007. So, with An Argument With Myself, a relatively meager 5 song offering, Jens has definitely had plenty of time to sort out, fine tune and whittle away the bark from the good wood. The great news is that he was entirely successful. An Argument With Myself is 5 perfectly designed tracks, none of which are as sweepingly orchestral as his last release, but each having the tender, delicate, melodramatic heart that we've come to expect. It's also a compilation of perfect pop. The only problem is that it's so short. But, as my friend Ian said just the other day, "would you rather have a full album with 5 good songs, or an EP comprising ONLY good songs?" The answer, I think we can all agree, is the latter. Although, Lekman's blog provides a quality of Smalltalk unique to him, which we can all nearly validate as extended insight.
"An Argument With Myself," the song, is a post-Paul Simon-Samba-African pop track that covers the eerie travels of a man throughout the city streets and around his own mind. It is as much a prose poem, an essay and a diatribe as it is a song. Especially highlighted by a spoken word section in which Lekman likens backpackers exiting a reggae show to a "tidal wave of vomit." "Waiting For Kirsten" posits a hypothetical situation in which a dreamy, lovelorn Jens and friend wait for Kirsten Dunst outside her hotel. It has a distinctly just-post-'90s vibe about it, and it's nothing if not catchy and hopelessly romantic. Jens spends much of the song trying to convince Kirsten that life is different where she is, that she needn't hide. It's cute. And for a Jens fan, it is wheelhouse. "A Promise" is one of the most, dare I say, promising tracks on the EP. It has a defined and unique sound, combining strings with a sort of calypso percussion, and it also has the deepest, darkest version of Jens. I'll rank it number one on the disc... with a bullet. "New Directions" is also promising, with bright horns and great backing vocals. It's the most ornate track on the collection and one that feels a little rambling, but in the enjoyable, Lekman-esque way. "So This Guy At My Office" has a reggae beat to it, and a casual demeanor, as if it's not too concerned with being a song at all. It is good, with Lekman's paranoia seeping through the lyrics, but it's also as much an experiment with style as a full-on commitment. Though, the EP as a whole is that way.
For Lekman fans, An Argument With Myself is a brilliant addition to the collection. It is wonderful, peaceful, summery, and pop-ready. It is twee at points, melodramatic at others, and on-the-nose often, but those are aspects one must love about Jens to love him. In offering 5 great tracks, rather than 9 mediocre ones, Lekman has at least tided us over. But the appetite continues and will require a full-length response soon. Jens? Someone must find your reviews, right? Pass it on. We want more. Thank you. Listen to the EP below, then buy it. It's 8 bucks. What do you want, a sandwich?
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