Remember that episode of Seinfeld in which George decides to do the opposite of what his instincts tell him, and the approach results in massive personal success? Jens Lekman is getting at the same ideas on “WWJD,” one of three new songs he shared today as part of a new mixtape, which is about revising a What Would Jesus Do bracelet to mean What Would Jens Do and then going the other direction entirely. Apparently Lekman has established ground rules for the songs on his next album, and while “WWJD,” “What’s That Perfume That You Wear?” and “I Remember” don’t adhere to those constraints, he liked them too much not to share them, so he laced them into this mixtape instead. Here’s a note from Lekman explaining the origin of the mix along with the tracklist:
While travelling through midwest America some time ago I stopped at a gasstation and bought a WWJD bracelet for $1.99 and insisted that it stood for ‘What Would Jens Do?’. I would look at it when I felt indecisive, think about what Jens really would do and then do the opposite of that. I thought that would be a good way to find some new paths in life, and to get away from the paths I kept taking that didn’t lead me anywhere good.
WWJD is a song about regrets, learning from your mistakes, and bettering yourself. I wrote it last year, recorded it quickly and felt it didn’t fit in with most of the other songs I was writing. Together with ‘What’s That Perfume That You Wear?’ and ‘I Remember’ they weren’t adhering to the rules I had set up for my next album but they were also too good to forget. So I weaved them in exclusively on this mixtape where they are stations on a longer journey, where loops and smaller fragments, ideas for songs and favourite songs by others swoosh by outside the window. Feel free to open that window and feel the breeze in your hair.
0:00 – Jens Lekman – WWJD
3:05 – Bunny Maloney – Baby I’ve Been Missing You
6:18 – David Byrne – Theodora Is Dozing
7:59 – The 11:08 Train Swooshes By
09:52 – Jhene Aiko – Stranger
11:34 – Jennifer Lara – Our Love
13:10 – Georges Delerue – Theme from Camille
15:25 – Jens Lekman – What’s That Perfume That You Wear?
18:47 – Ralph MacDonald – The Path
20:33 – All Your Sorrows Reversed
26:25 – Jens Lekman – I Remember
Contains smaller fragments from: The Philly Devotions – Yeah Yeah Girl. The Duprees – Why Don’t You Believe Me? Soul 2 Soul – Back To Life (acapella). Beethoven – Stringquartet no 5 in A Major. Dalida – Salma Ya Salama. Fairouz – Zourouni. Angel Haze – Same Love. Syl Johnsson – I Hate I Walked Away. Hermeto Pascoal – Musica da Lagoa. Crue-L Grand Orchestra – (You Are) More Than Paradise (Freaks Switching Channels 12inch Mix). Paul Johnson – Where Can You Be. Jim Nabors – With These Hands. Israel Vibration – The Same Song.
Lilian Paunovic Olsson sings harmonies on ‘WWJD’.
Thanks to Sara, Luís and Malin for the inspiration.
Hear all three new Lekman songs, which continue to push his signature sound into soft-rock territory, by streaming WWJD below.