Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lykke Leaks

I’m good, I’m gone is right. My favourite Swedish Tinkerbell has taken off with the upcoming release of her second full-length album – and I must say, this one packs a whole new level of punch.

Lykke Li, a 24 year-old indie bombshell, originally caught my attention in September of 2008 when I first heard “Dance, Dance, Dance”, an adorable tinkering confession of a young girl dance, dance, dancing to disguise her meek ways. I jumped on the Lykke train immediately, feeling that her humble but deliberately driven character (someone not only vocally and creatively advanced, but painstakingly fashionable and sweet) was like a disease I wanted to catch.

She made immediate waves with her first album Youth Novels, which is exactly what it was named to be – a collection of quirky indie-pop songs and vocal whispers that if nothing else made our ears perk up and listen closely to this spunky fresh-faced sprite. Her style, both fashion and musical, was progressive and provocative, her chants were soft, and something about Lykke always reminded me that I should be very surprised at her young age.


Her latest album, I think, is acting as an updated reminder that she’s got a few years on us now. Entitled Wounded Rhymes, Lykke (born Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson - try saying that with a few marshmallows in your mouth) has brought a new energy and strength to her sound, while still radiating humility and an excitement to grow. At this point, she knows we know who she is, and she’s willing to show us what the big leagues have taught her.

Wounded Rhymes is like a musical score for a one-woman play in which a nightgown-donning teenager croons chin-in-hands love pleas in her bedroom, occasionally hopping to her feet and ripping off her nightgown to reveal skin-tight leather for the sultrier numbers. It really is that much of a mixture. Dark and light, vulnerable but assured – this album is one big melting pot of enchanting dichotomies.

The album opens with “Youth Knows No Pain”, a groovy flower-child dance anthem. Thundering 1960s percussion and flying organs, this song is what the scuba dance was designed for. My personal favourite, “I Follow Rivers” trails right after. An undeniably catchy bump and clap beat that’s equally romantic, dark and fit for a dance floor – I can’t get enough of hearing Lykke shout, “I, I, follow/ I follow you deep sea baby/ I follow you.” It’s already been mixed with the Magician Remix, a revamped ditty that ditches the hippie and tosses in the disco piano and dance beat – a style that 90s Ace of Base and Marky Mark got us hooked on.


“Love out of Lust” takes a page from the airy ballad book, that was co-authored by The Raveonettes or Camera Obscura, with echoey beats and a go-go-platform vibe. It’s gradual, peaceful and showcases the pixie queen’s vocals. The first single off the new disc, Get Some is a mix of hurried, lusty guitars – an understandably striking track that will put her on the charts. Channeling Nancy Sinatra’s magnetism, you’d expect to hear this while a sexy sisterhood sing down at a group of males, shrinking powerless to their sultry and emotionless luring.


On the slow side of things, Lykke gave us little ballad bundles of joy in the forms of “Unrequited Love”, the melancholy schoolgirl-strums of “Sadness is a Blessing” and the deep and haunting last track, “Silent my Song”.

This rhythmic and radical throwback collection is a great insight into Lykke’s developing dark undertones. She doesn’t overwhelm with her exposed and sweltering sound, but only announces herself, as sugary and as raw as ever, as a full-blown competitor who’s ready to enter the race.

Look for Wounded Rhymes on music store shelves next Monday, February 28th, 2011.


  1. I've been hooked on I Follow Rivers and I seem to be playing it a lot at CKCU-FM on Wednesday morning. :)
    Great post on Lykke Li and I can't wait for the album.

  2. I completely agree. This song is infectious!