If you have never heard of the Swedish singer Lykke Li then it’s time to grab her newly released sophomore album, “Wounded Rhymes.” On this album, Li flees from stereotype and enters herself into a category all her own with dreamy and haunting songs that reflect the depth of her first album “Youth Novels.” If vulnerable and insightful lyrics weren’t enough, Li’s songs also include a wide variety of musical instruments and unique beats.
Lykke Li was raised by artist parents and lived much of her life moving from one exotic location to the next. A self described depressive person, Li uses that gypsy upbringing and her personal demons to connect with her readers, offering a solace from reality. As I sit at my desk after a long day solace is exactly what I’m looking for.
The first song that I hear is “Youth Knows no Pain.” This is a song with heavy beats and a semi futuristic flair. The lyrics speak about teenage passion and giving yourself away to the experience: “So come on honey cut yourself to pieces. Come on honey give yourself completely. And do it all though you can’t believe it. Youth knows no pain.”
Next up is “I Follow Rivers,” which is a song about following and loving someone unattainable. Despite the heavy subject matter this song packs a punch of energy. “Unrequited Love” is a track with an old fashioned feel and a raspy sound. It’s one of the songs likely to become a favorite.
“Love of of Lust” is the third song on the album and my personal favorite. From the start it has a light, thoughtful, and melodic quality. It is an odd love song with lyrics like “Rather die in your arms than die lonesome. Rather die hard than die hollow.” New angles on an old topic such as love seems to be a recurring theme for this singer.
The one song on the album that falls flat is “Jerome.” The music on this track lacks interest for me and the tone fell short. Over all the theme of the album seems to be of cherishing moments and feeling emotion rather than fleeing it. This will be an album I put on repeat and enjoy the more I hear it.
Lykke Li is a rare breed in the music industry that can balance serious lyrics, musical integrity, and like-ability. It’s that knock out combination that landed her on the New Moon sound track in 2009 and has allowed her to collaborate on a number of popular tracks with big name artists including Kanye West and Santigold. Those that are craving a fresh musical experience will enjoy the versatility that Li possesses. A true artist and multi-faceted musician, Li will likely have a lot to watch out for in the future, but for now “Wounded Rhymes” will definitely keep indie fans satisfied. If you like what you hear then you can purchase tickets to see her at the Showbox in Seattle on May 26.