Jens Lekman and Tracey Thorn
recently teamed up for the 20th-anniversary Merge Records covers compilation "Score!". As I'm a big fan of both, I was psyched when Tracey first announced this on her blog. It literally just came out of nowhere. And I can confirm that it's indeed excellent. Their voices just entwined so well together, and it's deceptively sweet for the wry, deadpan lyrics. Definitely one of the best covers I've heard in 2009.
Tracey Thorn and Jens Lekman - Yeah! Oh, Yeah! (The Magnetic Fields)
I always meant to check out Magnetic Fields' stuff, actually, but I got intimidated by their hefty discography. It doesn't help that the most recommended album to start with is called '69 Love Songs'!
And while we're at it, here are some more fine covers courtesy of Jens & Tracey:
Jens Lekman - A Little Lost (Arthur Russell)
Damn you and your kalimba, Jens.
Jens Lekman - Your Beat Kicks Back Like Death (Scout Niblett)
The build-up here is amazing. Instruments along the way with Jens' crooning make the lyrical content less grim. Almost. :(
Jens Lekman - Water Runs Dry (Boyz II Men)
Wait for his explanation at the end.
Tracey Thorn - King's Cross (Pet Shop Boys)
The Hot Chip Mix is probably more popular, but here's the original version of the cover, a b-side to 'It's All True'. Earlier this year, there was a period when the chorus lyrics of this song really resonated with me.
Last but not least, check out this brilliant collaboration of Jens with Swedish choir The Sweptaways, called 'Happiness Will Be My Revenge'. So so good. Jens has got the Midas touch, everything he does is essential. His collabs? I'll save that for another time.