Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. Oct 4, 2012
    90
    This minor genius from Gothenburg hurdles over [the heartbreak record] as effortlessly and charmingly as his livelier material. [No.91 p.58]
  2. Sep 4, 2012
    90
    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.
  3. 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.
  4. Sep 4, 2012
    82
    The record sounds crisp, expensive even, but it never sounds slick or soulless.
  5. Dec 21, 2012
    80
    Maybe it lacks the frenetic energy of Night Falls Over Kortedala, but I Know What Love Isn't is a great record in its own right, a showcase of Lekman's prodigious storytelling gifts that also makes an effort to connect those stories, and that music, into an emotionally resonant whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
  6. Oct 18, 2012
    80
    While Lekman certainly knows how to use a sample, 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.
  7. Oct 12, 2012
    80
    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.
  8. Sep 10, 2012
    80
    The album is the result of its own thought process, and ultimately becomes the most revealing thing Lekman has written, even if it is his most succinct record.
  9. 80
    I Know What Love Isn't is an endearing and guileful extrication of the learning process.
  10. Sep 4, 2012
    80
    I Know What Love Isn't is a classy break-up record rather than just a classic one.
  11. Aug 31, 2012
    80
    As the title makes pretty clear, this is a break up record, weeping with Magnetic Fieldsy candid cynicism about love.
  12. Aug 31, 2012
    80
    By taking his time and falling in and out of love he ended up with I Know What Love Isn't, an album worth waiting another five years for.
  13. 80
    The album in a nutshell: a broken heart carried with poise, good humor and endless charm.
  14. Sep 6, 2012
    78
    I Know What Love Isn't is a master class in, if not getting over it, then getting on with it.
  15. Sep 7, 2012
    77
    Even when he focuses his unflagging talents within fixed bounds, Lekman's still one of the most distinct and observant writers in indie rock today.
  16. Sep 4, 2012
    75
    He's produced a fine return to the public eye, one that doesn't enchant quite like his early material but resonates much deeper.
  17. Sep 14, 2012
    70
    Snatches of flute, sax, and female vocal harmony vocals add sympathetic colour to these sad yet inquisitive songs. [Oct 2012, p.83]
  18. Sep 10, 2012
    70
    Jens sticks to what he knows, combining his spry guitar playing and razor sharp pop sensibility.
  19. Sep 7, 2012
    70
    I Know What Love Isn't turns out to be a graceful break-up album, one that eschews ugliness and rage.
  20. Sep 7, 2012
    70
    Through it all, Lekman's wit remains intact.
  21. Sep 4, 2012
    70
    Lekman has always had a neat turn of phrase, whether barbed, droll or plainly silly. Again, there's [sic] plenty of them here.
  22. 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.
  23. Sep 19, 2012
    60
    [Lekman] delivers a buoyant, frankly heart-wrenching, autobiographical album. [Oct 2012, p.86]
  24. Sep 6, 2012
    60
    Though twee-o-phobes may baulk at the confessional tone, wit and self-deprecation win the day. [Oct 2012, p.105]
  25. A chastened affair: instrumentally pared-back, vocally wan and full of unremarkable Brill-Building-meets-Belle-and-Sebastian ditties.
  26. Aug 31, 2012
    60
    On this third album nothing quite matches the second track, Erica America, for subtlety, its delicately anguished lyric set to a lush, Richard Carpenter-style melody.
  27. Aug 31, 2012
    60
    He still packs dense short stories into each track, but without the humor the drama sometimes falls flat.
  28. Oct 16, 2012
    50
    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.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Sep 10, 2012
    10
  2. Sep 7, 2012
    9
    Each album of Jens' has taken me some time to fall in love with, but all this took was one thorough listen through. That's the thing aboutEach album of Jens' has taken me some time to fall in love with, but all this took was one thorough listen through. That's the thing about Jens, he's a grower - not a show-er. Full Review »
  3. Sep 4, 2012
    9
    Is funny but everytime i approach a new Jens Lekman album for the first hour i feel a bit disappointed...but then something start sneakingIs funny but everytime i approach a new Jens Lekman album for the first hour i feel a bit disappointed...but then something start sneaking inside my mind and memories and again i find his poetic so sophisticately naive that i start waiting for the next one. Full Review »