Release Date: 2014
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If you’re looking for a musical journey that really makes you “feel” then this is the album for you. Lejana, which translates roughly to “distant” or faraway”, is a band formed by distance. Linda Marlen Runge (lead singer) hails from Germany while the rest of the boys (Eder Perales, Isaak Fernandez, Pako Rosas) are from Mexico. Together they form a sort of magical entity that captures your imagination from the moment you put this CD in.
This CD opens with the track called “Zero”, which isn’t a song per say, as it is a audio introduction for this journey you are about to take. The appetizer if you will. It’s a bit of white noise mixed with various media, that leaves you with a foreboding haunting feeling.
But that foreboding sense quickly disappears as soon as the next track “The City” starts. This beautiful track talks about being faceless in the crowd in a city, where you can just blend in and go unnoticed. It plays on the juxtaposition of a city being both ugly AND beautiful at the same time, as well as the dark and light side of people. Overall, this song’s melody is super catchy and the guitar riff gets me tapping my feet in no time.
At the end of this song it cuts to some humming, of which the melody sounds quite pleasant but actually fills me with sorrow listening to it. It kind of fills me with an image of a small young girl playing on some swings all by herself.
And then the next track “April” starts and totally blows you away with its industrial punk synth sound. It sounds gritty and dirty but then the lyrics throw you a curveball because it’s not what you would expect. Linda sings about “April” and how warm and beautiful it / he / she is. Now I’m not sure if the April she is referring to is actually the MONTH of April or a person. Either way this song is a beautiful dedication to love and what it feels like when that love is gone.
The next track “The Girl” is, I feel, one of the most personal tracks on this album. It tells the story of a girl who has fallen into a dark pit and is struggling to find her way out. If you’ve ever felt like you’ve hit rock bottom, then you can totally empathise with this song. Linda’s hauntingly beautiful voice brings to life this girl, who hasn’t even the strength to eat. In the chorus, she sings “You are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen” and I’m not sure if it’s someone telling the girl that, or if it’s the girl trying to convince herself of this. Either way, it’s a very melodic song that leaves you wanting to curl up on the floor and hold this girl and tell her everything will be OK.
“Why” opens slowly with catchy synths and by the time the drums kick in, this song has you hooked. The first line “Why, do things in life, always screw you up?” we can all identify with. The song goes on to describe the feeling you get when you doubt your whole life. About the shortness of everything and whether you’ve made the right decisions. About trying to become better, about dreaming and then going out and achieving those dreams. It’s about living your life and “feeling” everything that happens to you, good or bad. The melody is super catchy and I find myself singing along to it. Not to mention that every time I hear this song, I just want to go out and conquer the world. The end of this song also includes the sound of some swings….I like to imagine that the sad little girl from before has now left the swings and is now kicking life’s ass.
The next track is entitled “Con la Luz de Tus Ojos Iluminé Mi Camino”, which roughly translates to “With the light of your eyes, I enlightened my path”. And again is a mixture of various audio media elements including people’s voices and what sounds like an old record playing in the background. The song playing is actually a song called “Tus Pupilas” by “Las Hermanas Águila” (The Aguila Sisters), who were a beautiful duet from Guadalajara, Mexico, which initially sang ranchera in the early 1930s. This track fills me with nostalgia for a place and time I’ve never been to and at the same time, with the addition of more modern sounds, rips me back into the present. It’s almost like listening to a tear in the fabric of time, and this track is allowing the past to come filtering in.
The next track “One” tells the sad story of what you have to deal with after a break up. Over the soft mellow sounds, we hear the dark story of unfulfilled dreams, of things turning out not the way you thought. It fills me with the feelings of sorrow you feel post breakup and that feeling of disappointment and hurt. The drums in this one give it a sense of anger that slowly builds up during the song. This track actually has elements in it that remind me of “Enya”. At the end we hear something that sounds like more 1930s ranchera type music and I love it!
The intro to “The Fool” takes me back to the 80s. I love the synths in this one. The lyrics talk about magic, love and passion and what those things make you do. It shows you that you should go out there and do what you love and to hell with what everyone else thinks. And if the world labels you “the fool” for doing so, then so be it. But as the German part of this song says “Robots can not love and petrified souls cannot fly”. Fear stops us from doing so much and we shouldn’t let it rule over us.
So much life advice in this album, it’s so worth every penny.
The next track “Your Voice” kind of explodes out of the CD, unlike the last few tracks, the tempo is really upbeat and has an awesome electro pop sound. The lyrics talk about missing someone and wanting to just hear their voice again. Great song to get you dancing away to while you’re in your car…not that I’ve done that…
”Run” opens slowly but builds to this amazing explosion of guitars, drums and synth. I feel this song is about the overwhelming feeling you get when everything just gets too much and you just want to run away. I think at one point in all our lives we’ve all felt like running away from someone or something, so I can definitely empathise with this song. The German part in this song which translates to “And it grows in me like cancer” intrigues me. Is it referring to the feelings of running away growing like a cancer or…?
Track 11 which is titled “Fire” is super haunting and beautiful. The synths at the beginning always gives me the chills. It tells the story of seeing your ex and pretending you no longer care about them, when in fact it’s just a lie. And in fact, they are trying to appear like they no longer care also, which is another lie. And when you catch that other person’s eyes, you KNOW and you FEEL that what you had is still there. It’s the sad realisation that even though you both still have feelings for each other, you have to accept that the other person has moved on and is no longer with you. And this sorrow, hurt and anger is beautifully portrayed in the build up at the end of the song.
With the next track, “Die Reise” (The Journey), which is again a mixture of audio elements, I’m taken into a weird Mexican dream. Feels like I’m partaking in a backyard fiesta with a Mariachi band playing and I can hear some sheets blowing around in the wind. Even though there are no actual lyrics in this track, the CD has something intriguing written for this track, suggesting that this track is about not having a home, about being a vagabond and forever travelling in life’s journey.
The last track “Great Expectations” is mostly sung in German with the exception of “We had such great expectations” and “No satisfaction at all”. The German lyrics talk about being aware that the other person is the ONLY one who will truly know who you are and not wanting that to be. I feel like this song portrays the disappointment we feel when things don’t work out in a relationship and that feeling that you could have been so much more. Of having placed expectations on it and not being able to achieve it. And the horrible feeling that no one will ever know you the way that person does. It’s one of the most angriest sounding songs and ends the album off with a bang.
With some more random audio at the end of this last song, we are left with the sense of having travelled not only from Germany to Mexico but also through some rather emotional life experiences.
What a brave album! Very well produced and has been on repeat in my car since I got it.