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In 1983, 17-year-old Harlem singer Jackie Stoudemire released a compelling 12” that few people heard. Fitting to its undeniable groove, the song was called simply “Dancing,” and it arrived via the obscure late disco/proto hip-hop label Tap Records. Naturally, the professional crate-diggers over at the Numero Group unearthed and shone a light on the uptown NYC label nearly a decade ago now, which is perhaps how “Dancing” reached indie-pop observationalist Jens Lekman. Tucked within Lekman’s “postcards” experiment, in which he wrote and released a new song every week throughout 2015, was a loose number where he essentially plays over “Dancing.” It was a promising nugget, but still felt a little out of place. He doesn’t fully integrate himself into the track’s jubilant world, somewhere between The Loft’s dancefloor and the Isley Brothers’ funky guitar riffs.
On Lekman’s excellent new album, Life Will See You Now, his “Dancing” experiment finally clicks under the title “How We Met, the Long Version,” landing like one of Arthur Russell’s forgotten Loose Joints bangers. He keeps the burst of horns that made Stoudemire’s pop in the first place, but adds to them—among keyboards and extra percussion—a string section that’s equal parts disco opulence and twee-ish sentimentality. The entire affair is likely the most fun Lekman has had on record to date, but that’s just one side of the story here. Lyrically, this is classic Jens: wry, highly specific, self-aware, and a bit sweet. Wth a crush percolating, person A comes up with a flimsy excuse to see person B (in this case, to borrow a bass guitar). Then bam, B plants a surprise kiss on A—and the rest, as they say, is history. A satisfied Lekman croons as the song closes, “We made it happen.” Considering the song’s early rough draft, it’s fair to say he did.Share