Jens Lekman – Life will see you now

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“Postcard #17” is the penultimate track on Jens Lekman’s fourth album Life Will See You Now, and also its darkest. A morose Mingus-sampling piano ballad with handclaps and a disco backbeat, there’s no cute story to unfurl, no quirky character to imbue pearls of wisdom. The tune follows the internal monologue of a writer struggling to believe in himself (“If I just put this pen to this paper/If I just change the labels on the salt and pepper shaker/If I just trick myself into pouring it all out”), desperate to conquer the demons gnawing at his own sense of self-worth. Arguably the most fully formed track from his 2015 Postcards project—the album version is nearly identical to the original—“Postcard #17” is a window into the headspace Lekman was in when he resolved to write and release a new song every week that year. It’s a portrait of an artist, confused and fearful, trying to climb out of a hole of his own construction. The album’s title imagines its characters—the tentative bride, the nostalgic ex-lover, even the young Lekman—as patients in a waiting room, waiting for their lives to start, for the nurse to pop in and say, “Life will see you now.” Lekman knows that waiting room well. It’s the place he was trapped when he wrote “Postcard #17,” stuck inside his own head, paralyzed by fear and self-doubt—feelings most writers can relate to. But the triumph of Life Will See You Now is how it suggests that the 36-year-old Lekman has never been more skilled at his craft, or had more stories to tell.





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