Tracey Thorn appears to have a somewhat strange relationship with Swedish songwriter extraordinaire Jens Lekman. Featured just a couple of weeks ago on Free Music Friday, ‘Oh, The Divorces!‘, the opening track of her latest album Love & Its Opposite (May 17), found her addressing Lekman by name in the chorus: “Oh Jens… Love ends just as easy as it’s begun.” It seems Thorn is trying to prove to Lekman, as he puts it on his website, “the impossibility of eternal love,” and this 2009 collaboration on a cover of excellent Magnetic Fields track ‘Yeah! Oh, Yeah!’ certainly serves to help her case.
Do not be fooled by the seemingly upbeat, chirpy title – this song is fuelled by venom. Lifted from Merge Records’ 20th birthday compilation, it’s a call-and-response style affair between husband and wife, the lyrics presenting such gems as “I’ve enjoyed making you miserable for years” and other similarly bile-filled outbursts. At one point Tracey asks, “Could you really kill your wife?”, only to be answered by Jens: “Yeah! Oh, yeah!”
In stark contrast, the song itself is dreamy and pretty. Thorn and Lekman have slowed the tempo of the song down quite dramatically, and their clear, strong vocals emphasise the tragic lyrics which tell so brutally of the demise of a relationship. Not on the new album, sadly, but bodes well for their version of Lee Hazlewood’s ‘Come On Home To Me’, which does.
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