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Friday, March 11, 2011

Wounded Rhymes by Lykke Li Review

(Image courtesy: Stereo Gum)

The single “Get Some” is pretty much the writing on the wall for this album. Lykke Li’s sophomore effort is quite a departure from the soft-spoken cutesiness of her first album Youth Novels (Atlantic). From Youth Novels she sang “I’m a little bit in love with you,” on her single “Little Bit” and now on “Get Some” she sings “I’m a prostitute / You gon’ get some.”

Where did our lovely, quiet and shy Lykke go? Well, she and her music grew up. Admittedly the single made me start immediately hating this album. It is a big over-produced indie club style hit, and I wanted the super-subtle and adorable vibe of the last album. Luckily, the single (I understand why it was chosen – mass appeal) happens to be the worst track on the album, or really, least good. The rest of the album is slowly infectious. It is a little hard to get into at first, because it’s such a surprise from Lykke and is at parts overwhelming. After a few listens, you’re hooked, and start to appreciate some of the hidden sophistication of the album.

Lykke had Bjorn (of Peter, Bjorn and John) back to produce and he went huge. I hate to use the clichéd “wall of sound” description, but there is a big early 1960s influence on the album, so it does sound like a modern Phil Spector job. The song “Sadness is a Blessing” could have been a Supremes hit, while “Unrequited Love” sounds like one of the solid gold oldies ballads, “doo-wops” included. You can even hear it in the super reverbed out guitars of “Get Some.” Those guitars are an example of the sly genius concealed in this album.

The vocals match the songs: big, multi-track, harmonies, reverb, the works. A chorus of Lykke Li’s sings the pain of the last song “Silent My Song.” Speaking of pain, this album is a lot darker than her last. She really delves in to some ache as opposed to the wonderings we would be used to.

This album is a must. It might take a few listens but you will fall in love with the new Lykke Li (and her emotional baggage) just as much as you did the younger playful Lykke.

Also for the Freep.

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