By New Times
By Derek Askey
By Mark Deming
By Serene Dominic
By Jason Keil
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
Nowhere on the album is that sense of an entire world contained in one song stronger than on "I Want a Pair of Cowboy Boots," a song told in dreams, with desires laid bare from the subconscious to the waking self.
"You were in my dream last night, like every night since two years ago," Lekman sings. "I think my dream is trying to tell me something, and I say tell me something I don't already know."
It's a song about trying to escape not from the breakup, but from the long-lingering memories, those "sad and worn-out midnight shoes" that Lekman so hopes to trade for new cowboy boots, to finally walk away. Time spent wallowing is time lost, a notion that strikes a chord with the 31-year-old Lekman.
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"It is an album that is older than the other records, for sure. It's not a record I could have made when I was 23," he says.
Reviews of I Don't Know What Love Is tend to zero in on one particular line from "The World Moves On":
"You don't get over a broken heart / You just learn to carry it gracefully," he sings. It's the album's central message, one that doesn't come right away or too easily for Lekman or the listener.
It's a jaunty song, chiming piano chords and a bright flute solo, with lyrics that take the journey of self-reflection to its breakthrough chorus. Dead relationships don't wrap up neatly to be packaged away forever, so stop expecting them to, he says.
"I feel like that song has really been growing over the last two months when I've been touring. What I was getting at [with that line] was that I don't believe in closure, really. I think closure is a modern invention. I think we are looking for a solution, something that will end what you're concealing, very suddenly, and it will go away after a very certain amount of time. It doesn't work that way. We carry with us our heartbreaks, and they make us better people."