12. Jens Lekman, 'Life Will See You Now'
Swedish singer-songwriter Jens Lekman's storytelling reached a new
pinnacle on his fourth record, which combines stories of personal rebuilding
and reflection with joyous dance music (the steel drum-assisted "What's
That Perfume That You Wear?," the giddy "Wedding in Finistere")
and shimmering synth-pop ("Postcard #17"). In a year where even
the biggest pop titans got down with introspection, "How Can I Tell
Him" was a track that stood out for its searing thoughtfulness; its string
flourishes and gently strummed guitars framing Lekman's tale of male friendship
and its communication breakdowns ("We can talk about anything/As long it's
about nothing," he sighs). The song ends with the singer thinking – but not
saying – "I love you, too" as his pal bikes away. M.J.