MUSIC LESSONS WITH JOHN MAYER
THERE’S GOOD MUSIC, and then there’s music you like. For me, Teitur’s Poetry & Aeroplanes goes two for two. The album was released in July of last year, and by record-industry standards, it’s dead. Buying this disc now qualifies as search and recovery, not rescue. The problem with watching it get smaller and smaller in my rearview mirror is that it may be one of the best albums to come around in the last five years.
Teitur is Teitur Lassen, a 27-year-old singer-songwriter from Denmark’s Faroe Islands, population 45,000. He’s utterly melodic and hopelessly romantic, and when he performs live, he robs the air from your lungs. Oh, and he’s devoid of any charisma or star power whatsoever. The man could get asked for ID at his own show. That fact, coupled with his record company’s complete lack of vision for his career, has contributed to his warming the bench at Universal Records. But who cares about being charismatic? As far as I’m concerned, that criterion should never have been added to pop music’s talent contest anyway.
If you have iTunes, spend 99 cents on the first track, “Sleeping with the Lights On.” Listen to the mellow, off-kilter drum loop that sounds like a windshield wiper set one click above intermittent and the cashmere-warm electric-guitar melody completely in unison with his vocals. “Oh, I’ve been haunted by this old ghost before,” he starts out, before getting to the greatest gut punch of a lyric I’ve heard in a long time: “I feel like waking up in your house some day.” If this tune doesn’t do it for you, neither did David Gray’s White Ladder, Coldplay’s A Rush of Blood to the Head, or, hell, even your own childhood.
Poetry & Aeroplanes is a concept record, really. It’s about being in love but not being around. It’s almost always raining, and if it’s not, it’s about to. Those windshield wipers almost never turn off, but that doesn’t make it drab; it makes it feel safe inside, where it’s dry and the heat is blowing. Music like this is jet fuel on the fire of a broken heart. Even if you think the flame has died, there’s at least one lyric that’ll hit that last hot spot, and then you’ll find yourself as fucked as you were the day you lied and said you never wanted to see her again. Enjoy.