Swedish musician Jens Lekman is an intrepid explorer of new musical adventures and a prolific songwriter, as his year-long ‘Postcard Project’ exemplifies.
With 2015 speeding by quickly – it’s already way past midsummer, with autumn only a hop-skip-and-a-jump around the corner – cast your mind back to the start of the year, if you will. Remember that list of resolutions you might have scrawled on a piece of paper or kept locked away in the depths of your own mind? Did you tick any of them off? Well there’s a certain Swedish singer who has definitely been doing exactly what he set out to do with his New Year’s resolution – and he’s still continuing. Introducing Jens Lekman’s ‘Postcard Project’, which sees the Gothenburg-born lyrical maestro penning one song a week throughout 2015, some of which will end up on a new album.
The very first tune that he shared on 2 January 2015 – simply entitled ‘Postcard #1’ – set the scene for the project. The lyrics describe the song ‘as a time machine, a bookmark in time’ – which by all accounts is what he hoped it would become, like a weekly diary. ‘At the end of this year, we can sit down you and me and listen through these 52 songs, and remember where we were and when we were there, who we kissed and who we missed,’ comments Lekman. The weekly songwriting session additionally may have an impact on his creative juices. He continues, ‘I spend a lot of time on my songs, on their details. I sweep the streets that my characters walk on and polish every doorknob until I feel confident to let other people in. But it does lead to a very isolated creative phase. I’ve been longing to write about things that make sense one particular day.’
So far, he’s stuck to his plan and has released weekly songs as postcards via his website (and Soundcloud), sharing thoughts and events in his life as carefully-crafted stories in an interminable stream (though fans should be reminded that this weekly Lekman injection will end after 52 weeks but, not to worry, there are still many more weeks’ worth to come yet). The tracks get uploaded wherever he might be in the world at the time – one time he’d just spent time snorkelling in the South China Sea (‘Postcard #12’) and another he snuck into the bathroom of a friend’s house where he was staying to record the track on his phone (‘Postcard #19’). Giving snapshots into Lekman’s life, you can even feel the seasons changing as the year progresses.
In between there’s also been a living-room tour in Sweden, alongside his other ongoing projects: he’s working on his fourth studio album (separate to the ‘Postcards Project’) as the follow-up to the 2012’s I Know What Love Isn’t, and in November he will perform Ghostwriting at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, United States. For this, there’s a possibility he could provide a beat to the soundtrack of your life (update 2017: this is no longer available), as he acts as a ghostwriter and translates a selection of story submissions into song. As he notes on his website, ‘The idea behind this is that I believe everyone has an amazing story in them and I want to hold it up to the world, but also to the participant as a mirror, allowing them to get a glimpse of who they are.’
Weekly date with Jens
Though he has hinted that another living-room tour might happen at some point in the future, there are currently no future live dates announced (at the time of writing), but keep an eye on the ‘Smalltalk‘ section of his website, as who knows why might crop up, and this is where he’ll let you know about it. For now though, you can have weekly date with Jens – this week and next and every week until the end of 2015 is nigh. Sounds like bliss to me.