If you haven't heard Jens Lekman yet, you're missing out on one of the true pop geniuses of the early 2000s. His sound is glittering and shiny bedroom pop built on gentle guitars, bold and often hilariously obvious samples, subtle orchestration and arrangement topped with lyrical turns that brings laughs, and heartfelt vocals that can bring tears. Lots of people have done the same thing but few are as sweet and sly, few have the musical skills, and few balance the smarts and soul quite so gracefully as Lekman -- maybe Stephin Merritt in his prime, maybe Beck at his most intimate. Maybe. Oh You're So Silent Jens collects songs from singles, collections, and EPs released between 2003 and 2004 and as great as his 2004 album When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog is (and it is great), this is the place to truly experience the wonder and power of Lekman's music. There are so many highlights it would take as long to describe them as it would to listen to the disc. Still, a couple deserve mention, like the shimmering and quite wonderful "Maple Leaves," the achingly melancholy version of the Television Personalities' "Someone to Share My Life With," the loose-as-a-goose folk-rock charmer "I Saw Her in the Anti-War Demonstration," the insanely peppy and fun "A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill,"and the heartbreakingly lovely "Rocky Dennis' Farewell Song," which makes fine use of a Stylistics sample and Lekman's lyrical acumen. If you already have the three EPs that Secretly Canadian released, you'll still need this for the rare Swedish EP tracks, namely the near a cappella (with crickets) "Another Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill" and "Pocketful of Money," which features one of the great goosebump-inducing moments for indie geeks when Lekman drops in a wholesale sample of Calvin Johnson singing the "I'll come runnin' with a heart on fire" hook from Beat Happening's "Gravedigger Blues" and then starts singing along. Almost worth the price of the record right there, but you also get the two songs from Lekman's first 7" release (the subdued "At the Dept. of Forgotten Songs" and the 7" version of "Maple Leaves"), "F-word" from an En Garde fanzine release, and the lilting and sweet "The Wrong Hands" from the Accelerator compilation. Then there is the folky and perky remix of "Julie" from When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog, which is beautiful as well. So you need this collection -- no questions asked! Jens Lekman is a pop visionary. He is creating music no one can touch, and Oh You're So Quiet Jens collects most of his finest work. Simple as pie.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra