Jens Lekman Covers Paul Simon

Jens Lekman dropped by WNYC to chat with Soundcheck host John Schaffer and strip his “Burt Bacharach meets Donna Summer” sound for a solo acoustic performance. Jens discusses real life inspiration for his character sketches — e.g., “Shrin”‘s Iraqi immigrant barber and “Postcard”‘s beloved Nina (Jens is still close with her lie-detecting foddur). The Swedish songwriter says he doesn’t want his songs to come across as ironic, but he admits earlier attempts at wit were “comically retarded.” Subsequent “studying,” as he calls it, has paid of handsomely. Our love for Night Falls Over Kortedala grows with each listen.

Here, a solo acoustic “Shirin” is rendered more haunting by the absence of punchy orchestration, and we get a gem in Jens’s cover of Graceland’s biggest pop hit (no irony intended, of course). J. Lek loves its lyrics but laments that “You Can Call Me Al” mostly just conjures memories of Chevy Chase being funny. Agreed. Hey man, hallejulah…

After you’ve wiped off the CMJ grime, don’t miss Jens and his band 10/27 at Webster Hall and/or the following day in a solo performance at Music Hall Of Williamsburg. Tickets on sale now.

Jens performed “Al” on Swedish radio last week, too; you can grab the MP3 here. And, if you’re just tuning in, grab some free and legal Lekman LP cuts at