Jens Freebie – “We Are Beautiful” (State Law)
“Clients who were interested in Jens Friebe often liked too”…Yeah, well, guess what? Algorithms are likely to have problems with this classification. Living in Berlin by choice, Jens Friebe has created a very independent music world over the course of nearly 20 years of his solo career. This universe ranges from Hamburg school indie rock to cabaret and pop metaphor to songwriters’ extended ballads. Sometimes it is the same time. This makes Freebie’s voice and songwriting totally special. But it is also assumed that it gave him a place in the underground, far from being a commercial success. On his seventh album “Wir sind schön” he has remained true to his basic musical concept, but slight changes remain.
For example, there are no longer songs in English constantly. And the guitar, which faded into the background on the past few albums, is now practically non-existent. But the sound on “Wir sind schön” has become more electronic. The programmed rhythms, syntax, and obligatory piano of Jens Friebe’s album dominate and make the album one of the most accessible recordings in a musician’s work. There are no overly eccentric interludes like kids’ keyboard overruns or 11-minute songs, as there were in previous recordings. This makes it easy to participate in the album, which also presents a lot of material that needs to be processed.
Exact dosing, polyandry and class differences
According to Freebie, it should be an anti-nihilistic album created in socially dark times. Indeed, the tone of the recording is gently hopeful, without glorification. With all kinds of barbs and ambiguities in his songs, Jens Friebe manages to make sure that hope doesn’t become pathetic, and vice versa, so that a bit of sarcasm doesn’t become fatal. This doesn’t just happen on a lyrical level: the title track, for example, is an ode to a new beginning, which swears that disaster can be avoided, and that society is somehow changing so that somehow all is still well. . However, the accompanying piano sounds more hesitant and melancholy. This results in a song that is complex in content and emotional.
Overall, one of Jens Friebe’s greatest strengths is that she tackles politically and socially relevant topics without becoming eye-catching. Even when he writes about scene phenomena such as microdoses or polygamy, he never seems like a lyrical Twitter thread, but he manages to include the themes poetically. This works especially well in “At the End of All Celebrations,” which is told from the wonderful perspective of the bride’s mistress as she marries someone else. The setting can be either very sad or a very slapstick piece. But with Jens Friebe, it becomes a tragic comedy — and that in less than three minutes. Another advantage: It manages to tell complex stories in just a few words. The song “The Shrinking City” immediately following “At the End of All the Fest” is also a good example of this. Here childhood friendship episodes are revisited, and class differences are mentioned almost in passing, eventually leading to the story’s turning point, the breakup of the friendship.
The order of the songs on “Wir sind schön” is a little weird: the album starts with three songs of poppies loaded with violin, then in the middle turns into heavy texts, minimally into monotonous tracks. Also the virtually translated cover version of a Leonard Cohen classic”First we take ManhattanIn the middle of the log, it does not quite fit into the rest. But this only slightly spoils the impression of the album, which presents musical ideas and above all lyrical in abundance and manages the process of balancing emotion with a certain distance of irony. Above all, Jens Friebe manages to be decisive without being destructive, not to close his eyes to the sometimes very bleak world, but still not be entangled in hatred and fatalism, but to convey an optimistic spirit of defiance.
Release date: September 30, 2022
Label: state law
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