Most reviews I’ve read of Don Lennon albums, or articles about the man himself, begin the same way – by comparing his sound to someone else. I get the Jonathan Richman references and I understand the inevitable likening to Stephin Merritt. I refute, however, the notion that Jens Lekman is an influence on Lennon – I’m quite certain it’s the other way around.
Maniac came out in 1997, 6 years before Lekman’s first EP. Don has maintained a strong Swedish following for over a decade. It doesn’t take Sam Spade to connect those dots. Where am I going with this… Released last week, Nick and Mary is Don’s 6th studio album and I pray the day will soon come when the music press stop obsessing over peripheral similarities and inaccurate influencers because they’re doing their readers a disservice. They’re denying them some Don.
More specifically, the incessant comparisons do little but downplay 15 years of consistently outstanding and unique output. You’re no longer coming off clever by discussing parallels to other musicians which have already been done to death. With a new album will come a new crop of reviews/articles and I pray this time around Don’s exceptional new album is judged on its merits and not its Merritts. See what I did there?
Nick and Mary is a double album featuring 24 songs in total. Although I’ve listened to it 4 times all the way through as of this writing, I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface. One of my early favorites is “Months”, and I put together a YouTube clip so you can enjoy it easily below. I do want to share amazing music with my readers. I do not wish to go to jail for hosting MP3s or have Don pissed at me. This seemed like a good compromise:
”The months, they freak us out.”
Fat-sounding guitar chords kick the song off rather suddenly and were what first caught my ear, helping me make the difficult choice of which of the 24 tunes to feature on Wadio. I could just have easily gone with Rats!, Naked in Public, Bedbugs or Kids at Pearl River Mart – the album is rich with Don’s amazing knack for the catchy, subtle humor, blissfully-jangly guitars and superior songcraft. This LP will be with me for a good long while.
Don’s equally impressive back catalogue is available on iTunes, and you can purchase Nick and Mary from DonLennon.com. Let me know what you think about this song and all things DL related in the comments.