Published Mar 01, 2011Lykke Li's sophomore album, Wounded Rhymes, proves the Swedish singer-songwriter wasn't just a one-off success with her 2008 electro-indie-pop debut, Youth Novels. Rhymes offers fresh metaphors, sonically and lyrically, to mull. There's a driving drum beat throughout the majority of the record's 11 songs, a worthy and propulsive rallying cry that lends each track a note of empowerment, beginning with thumping opener "Youth Knows No Pain" and carrying through, in threads, to the exquisitely wistful "Love Out of Lust" and the mercurial, yet mocking, "Rich Kid Blues." Equally present, the shades of '60s-sounding pop, which keep the party going even when the lyrics take the listener to dark places, such as the old-fashioned laments of "Unrequited Love" and "Sadness is a Blessing," or catchy post-feminist anthem "Get Some," which threatens "I'm your prostitute/You're gonna get some." Instrumental "Ladies Love" plays like a peyote-fuelled trip in the desert, but makes a nice bridge into the album's final two tracks, picking up the tribal beat again on the frantic "Jerome," paving the way for "Silent My Song." It is a gloriously strange summary of everything that's come before, but trading the distinct drum for a droning buzz, as if Li finally soothed the restless spirit inside.
What did you want to do differently with Wounded Rhymes versus Youth Novels?
Kind of everything actually; I get very tired of myself very often, so I want to change ― change skins, almost. I noticed that I'm like a shark: if I don't move, I want to die.
How does that impact your writing?
It makes me a bit impatient. I'll try for five minutes and if I can't do it, I will leave. But I'll take a walk and then things come back to me.
There's a lot of darkness throughout the record, but it maintains a steady '60s American pop vibe. How much does your producer influence where the sound is going?
It's me; I like to dictate in the studio. He doesn't have that kind of power; I'm telling him what to do, almost. He has power over how to structure things, but I determine where they're going, actually. But he's got taste and touch, and I love his golden touch.
You left Sweden to write and record this one in California. What did L.A. bring to the album?
It brought my will to live back. It brought me back, my inspiration. (Warner)