This is what J Lind writes on his instagram about his newest single:

Oxford Sweater” is about turning off your phone and noticing the world but here are some things I’ve noticed with my phone on, no regrets”

What follows is a photo carousel of the quirky, the heartwarming, the mundane—an action figure on a jellyfish carcass, a zoom-in on a gravestone, a picture within a picture of a digital camera catching a man in a bunny suit, a Jim-faced lady staring at the camera with a garland of Cards Against Humanity, well, cards spread in front of her.

You know I saw it in the crosswalk keeper
He was wearing neon, holding up a sign
He was passing out the peace with two fingers
Something we agree on when it’s hard to find

But J Lind’s resumé is the kind the average Joe would bristle at (it’s me, I’m Joe). Went to Princeton, Oxford – volunteered in hospice care, for a time even in India. It’s the kind of resumé that practically begs to be bragged, but when you visit his socials it’s more of a short bio: everything else is music, and little moments.

See, this seems to be part of the ethos of J Lind’s life philosophy. Everything funnels back into the music, and the music gives back by healing. So all the dark and light of hospice work, of spirituality versus religiosity, of hope and cynicism – it’s in his many-shaded album The Land of Canaan, but it’s also in the shrug-like simplicity of his works like “I Don’t Know” and For What It’s Worth.

And that one woman had an Oxford sweater
Started seeing Latin somewhere in my mind
It said something like “the truth knows better
Than whatchya hang your hat on, whatchya try to hide

A strong degree of humility lines every musical stroke, no matter how scaled back or gospel Lind goes. When he goes big, it goes worship – kneel down, witness-the-divine, grandiosity-to-realize-you’re-small kinda sound (like my favs: “Lean Into It,” “This Too“). When it goes quiet, it goes bale-o-hay-for-a-bed simple with a rugged focus on the heart and the lyrics (like my other fav, “City on a Hill“).

Which is why I can say that his sound reminds me of his extremely scattered resumé: there’s a slow, honest quality like Sting; a penchant for groove and full-scale production like Seal; a classic folk melodic tone, with a bit of edge like The Mountain Goats‘ John Darnielle. And there’s even something that takes me back to my high school days, when I nonstop listened to the Killers – who, like J Lind, take inspiration from the best of Christian rock. But I’m also comfortable admitting none of those really get close to the sound either.

So “Oxford Sweater” is somewhat era-defining in what it does differently: strike a perfect balance. The song starts simplistic, yet bright, and scales into a more complex production that rounds out the sound. Lind conjures images of a kind crossing guard, a nearby woman in an Oxford sweater – the small images that flit past him on a low day that remind him of the simple joy of living:

And I, I turn the lights out

His voice distorts, the synth sounding out:

And then I heard it in the subway station
Someone playing trumpet, I was walking by
The six was coming just to test my patience
Tied up like a puppet, running out of time

The ecstatic horns bring the song suddenly to life, as if color bled out of the pen – joyous and bright. Lind’s voice goes hushed with rapt attention as he notices a young boy with more presence than his parent:

A kid was tryna get his mom to listen
She was caught up in an algorithm state of mind
He was finding what his mom was missing
Hope he tells her all about it on the other side

And then, as if delighting in the moment alone he continues out,

And I, I turn the lights out
And where would I go now?

The pure gratitude in this song bursts vibrantly forth, in pure reverie. It is like his other songs: simple, sincere, yet awe-struck and ornate. But it shows a degree of maturity that is so satisfying in a musician who’s worked at his craft, because nothing is simple for lack of care, or loud to boast—all fit in their perfect place as a representation of perfect, simple joy.

With more on the way, one can’t help but listen, and hope to experience that same reverie for the mundane—for a brief retreat, and pause, from the “algorithm state of mind.” And with J Lind’s music, one can always count on a little bit of healing.