I Know What Love Isn't

Jens Lekman - I Know What Love Isn't
Critic Score
Based on 24 reviews
2012 Ratings: #196 / 945
User Score
Based on 47 ratings
2012 Ratings: #122
September 4, 2012 / Release Date
LP / Format
Secretly Canadian / Label
Indie Pop / Genres
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jenslekman.com / Website
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I Know What Love Isn't is Lekman at his finest, transmitting real emotion and humor in songs that are impossible to stop humming for days.

Beats Per Minute

I Know What Love Isn’t is more than a great pop album – it’s the most singularly rewarding statement from one of the more uniquely gifted songwriting voices of the past decade.

The 405

It's the kind of album, though simple and economic, that will expose something previously unheard after every listen.


I Know What Love Isn’t, therefore, sounds like the culmination of his career, a record marking his arrival at a sound we knew he would get to eventually.

Drowned in Sound

I Know What Love Isn’t is a classy break-up record rather than just a classic one – reaffirming Jens Lekman as an inimitable talent, taking a great trope of pop music and making his most focussed album to date.

Consequence of Sound

Despite the unfortunate romantic circumstances laid out on most of the songs, they resonate with optimism in a way only a songwriter as idiosyncratic as Lekman could have churned out.


I Know What Love Isn't is Lekman gracefully coming to terms with the breakup, and his lyrical and musical variations on this fixation keep the album compelling.

No Ripcord

It is his songwriting talent, his storytelling ability, and above all his remarkable emotional honesty that make I Know What Love Isn’t the finest achievement of his career.

American Songwriter
The album in a nutshell: a broken heart carried with poise, good humor and endless charm.
The Fly
As the title makes pretty clear, this is a break up record, weeping with Magnetic Fieldsy candid cynicism about love.

I Know What Love Isn't is, by some stretch, the hardest Jens Lekman record to love-- or at least feel instantly infatuated with.

A.V. Club

While his previous records came off like a collage of big-hearted art films, this one is pure rom-com.


Sure, it’s a tougher listen than usual, but it’s still laden with lashings of classic Lekman pop hooks and a vocal that’s sweeter than a Swedish cinnamon bun. 


There's no shame in reverting to type - Jens might not know what love is yet, but he certainly knows what pop is

Under The Radar

He still packs dense short stories into each track, but without the humor the drama sometimes falls flat. 

The Guardian

Nothing quite matches the second track, Erica America, for subtlety, its delicately anguished lyric set to a lush, Richard Carpenter-style melody.

Pretty Much Amazing

This album, in full, borders on one long Kermit the Frog cover of James Taylor doing “Pure Imagination.”

Tiny Mix Tapes
At the end of the album, no stone on the topic of love and disillusionment feels unturned. Such is the strange comfort of blanket statements, but Lekman's fans may still feel the pea-like irritant of stories lanky and untold.
Somebody give Jens Lekman a hug. It’s kind of brutal that such a downer of a record could come out of the presumably positive, whimsical ray of sunshine who wrote the wonderful “Night Falls Over Kortedala.” Turns out, though, that Lekman can write sad nearly as well as he writes happy. “I Know What Love Isn’t” is a gorgeously written and performed record that hits awfully hard. Lekman isn’t suddenly cynical, but he’s crushed, and that eye for ... read more
More bitter than usual, his melodies grew up and long for a bigger bite of life, even if this bite would deprive them from their cuteness and make them harden.
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Track List

  1. Every Little Hair Knows Your Name 
  2. Erica America 
  3. Become Someone Else's 
  4. Some Dandruff on Your Shoulder 
  5. She Just Don't Want to be With You Anymore 
  6. I Want a Pair of Cowboy Boots 
  7. The World Moves On 
  8. The End of the World Is Bigger Than Love 
  9. I Know What Love Isn't 
  10. Every Little Hair Knows Your Name
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Added on: June 7, 2012