Photo by: Kristin Lidell
A Jens Lekman full-length doesn't happen quickly. Like a novel, the Swedish songwriter's LPs are artfully wrought, deliberate, large-scale productions. "I sweep the streets that my characters walk on and polish every doorknob until I feel confident to let other people in," he says in a blog post. "But it does lead to a very isolated creative phase." Sometimes, you might imagine, an artists just wants to say something quick or immediate. Sometimes, they just want to write a postcard.
Starting January 2, last year, Lekman recorded and released a song every week in 2015. "I’ve been longing to share my thoughts and life with you a bit more," he writes. "I’ve been longing to write about things that make sense one particular day but that might make no sense once the album comes out."
Lekman's Postcard sessions now live collected from #1 to #52 on the artist's SoundCloud. Supplemented by brief journal entries, some detailing the samples he's built from, some about what was happening in his life that week, others contextualizing what was happening in the news, it's an entire year documented in song and excised from the diary of Jens Lekman.
Postcard #3, for instance, is a sweet number he prepared and performed at the wedding of two Australian fans. #35 is a sunny soul snippet wrapped around field recordings of a rally to welcome refugees just two months before Sweden ended its open-door policy. The 44th postcard was issued a fortnight after the Paris attacks. "It was a long time since the world felt this hopeless," Lekman observes over the flute from Baby Huey's "California Dreamin'." On February 7th, just a few days after his 34th birthday, Postcard #6 is a tender message about longing (and, curiously, morse code).
The series finishes on New Year's Eve 2015 with its 52nd instalment, wherein, over a loop from Derek Martin's "You Better Go," Lekman reflects on the whole project: "All these memories and melodies, you can keep them/ I'm giving them to you for a reason/ So you can store them for me and remind me/ What life was filled with—both sadness and beauty."
You can hear those below or listen to the entire 52-song collection here.