jamie lidell original album artIt’s been about three years since Jamie Lidell dropped Compass to wide acclaim. Partially produced by Beck, it featured a veritable who’s-who of indie guest musicians, with heavy involvement from label-mates Grizzly Bear. Though here on his sixth album of 80′s fetishism, Lidell tosses this collaborative approach out. It’s self-titled, presumably produced by himself and features lyrical themes about self-improvement, self-deprecation, and some self-aggrandizing. Clearly, Jamie Lidell has spent plenty of time alone to think about Jamie Lidell. Not necessarily a bad thing, here’s what he came up with in five of the album’s most self-absorbed lyrics.

I’m Selfish

Lidell smurkinJamie sets the tone on the record’s opener, confessing straight from the title his own “selfishness.” He depicts it as a demon that he has since conquered – or at least tamed – but it’s far from convincing, thanks to the persistence of this theme in later tracks. “Life may not be only about you,” he pleads, but a whole album certainly can be. And doesn’t making music require at least a little narcissism, anyway?

Used to make it all about me
‘Cause baby I’m selfish
But I fight it
My pride is behind this
And I’ve seen it

Why_Ya_Why

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“Why_Ya_Why” may be the best track on the album, taking a left-turn away from the 70′s/80′s dance funk with some down-tempo New Orleans horns. The self-centered feel here is a little more subtle, requiring some prying into the storyline: Jamie’s convincing a sweet girl to come out and “be his date,” instead of “staying in and crying alone.” Sounds innocent enough, except that the “Pink Elephant”-esque beat more than hints at his foul intentions, which are only made creepier by the song’s complete unraveling after the bridge: [LISTEN]

You know, just to (ow, ow, ow!) all night long

I will be your date, we could stay out late
We could do things our parents didn’t want us to do

You Know My Name

by Renaud Letang

“You Know My Name” touches on the paranoia, confusion and superficiality involved in being surrounded by people with very few confidants – a situation Lidell seems to find himself in. Still, all of that melts away after the bridge, when he starts repeating the mantra that reminds him what makes it all worthwhile – “you know my name.”

Totally surrounded
Totally detached
This is kinda funny
But I find it hard to laugh

Total disconnection
Who the hell am I?
Superficial overdoses
Coloring my mind

You Naked

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“You Naked,” the sex anthem for this tour-de-Jamie, acts as an anti-R&B jam in that there’s no mention of all the beautiful, romantic things he plans on doing for his queen. Instead, Jamie sings about all the things she’s going to do for him, as well as how excited he is for her to “take control,” i.e., a euphemism for “you can go ahead and do all the work, I’m busy writing a farting bassline for this soundtrack I’m composing about our love-making:” [LISTEN]

I just wanna get underneath it all
You’re making me crazy
With the things that you do, you do, do, do to me tonight

Blaming Something

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While we’ve been giving Jamie plenty of jabs from the narcissism angle, not all of his self-absorption is detrimental. Sometimes all that focusing on yourself can lead to a better you in the process. While the authenticity of this self-improvement was questionable on “I’m Selfish,” Lidell goes a little deeper in claiming “responsibility” here, even attacking all fans of scapegoating:

And it’s all coming back to me
This time I should have taken
Responsibility
For the choices I’ve been makin’
It’s always a price to pay
For all that running away
And I don’t wanna be a victim no more