photos / Kristy Benjamin
story / Koko Ntuen
“We get the feeling sometimes that everybody else is right on track and heading toward their goals. They are motivated and know what and how to do it. But in reality, nobody has a clue what they’re doing. I think it’s getting worse these days when everybody’s trying to portray themselves as perfect on social media. Being human and carrying heavy emotions of lostness and confusion happens, and sometimes they get worse when people and social media are holding you up on a pedestal,” says Swedish guitarist + singer/songwriter Jens Lekman in true grandpa-like fashion.
It’s a relatable statement and it’s easy to imagine Jens saying this whilst holed up in his bunker JD Salinger-style in the south of Sweden. This is where he writes and records most of his witty lyrical melodies playing on the beautiful subtleties of falling in love and life’s quirks. Lekman’s thoughts, narratives, and emotions are all part of a delightful melancholic approach to making music, garnering him fans all over the world.
Speaking to the intentions of his new album, Life Will See You Now, Lekman explains, “I didn’t really want to leave the listener at the end of the album with a feeling of hopelessness. I decided that the imagery would be that I would turn back and walk towards the storm instead of just walking away from it. Little things like that could leave the listener with some hope, which has always been something important to me. I have happier songs which are the utter opposite of that about ridiculous things that have happened to me.”
This go-around he is less concerned about falling in love and pining over women, he IS in love and pining over the meaning of life. There’s an introduction to new elements of sound in Lekman’s current situation that encompass everything from disco to a toothsome domestication that make you want to put a ring on it.
Lekman is a cautious musician with motives to deliver honest music to his listeners. To Know Your Mission is packed full of delicate tunes and odes to romantic struggles and fuck ups. “I’m gonna go ahead and be a romantic here and say I fall in love everyday. I do. When I wake up and I see her I fall in love again,” Lekman says shyly.
On “Postcard #7”, and “How We Met, The Long Version,” we get jazzy self-explanatory tales that allude to his current relationship. “Basically all of the love songs there are about her.” Lekman gushes.
Does Jens Lekman have it all? His life does sound great. Who doesn’t want to be an indie star with a cute girlfriend and amazing talent?! But even though it looks good on paper, success, love, and happiness don’t necessarily mean that you have it all figured out. “…To some extent, I feel like success is a very tricky thing. I don’t even know if I could wish it upon anybody, even having your dreams come true. It’s something that could be terrible, it exposes you to parts of yourself you didn’t even know about. Particularly on your views of success and how you see yourself worthy of that success. For me, it’s just caused a lot of change. I got this thing, the Imposter Syndrome, where you just think, ‘Oh, someone is gonna find me out. They’re going to realize that I’m really not that good.’ I’m definitely not complaining but success can be a tricky thing.”
Like any road in the city of life there are winding, drawn out paths that don’t always make sense and Lekman is starting to steer things his own way. “I think I’m at the end of a difficult period of doubt, anxiety, etc. I’m coming to terms with it though. Things are getting better, I don’t feel like things are going downhill anymore. I’m grasping things now.”
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