Lykke Li Talks Wounded Rhymes and Her California Dreamin'

Lykke Li Talks <i>Wounded Rhymes</i> and Her California Dreamin'
Fans of Lykke Li's 2008 album, Youth Novels, have been anxiously awaiting the Swedish singer-songwriter's follow-up. Hopefully those fans aren't afraid of a little change.

Wounded Rhymes, Li's sophomore effort, hits shelves Tuesday (March 1), and it's equal parts promise and warning when Li explains that she wanted everything to be different with this album.

"I get very tired of myself very often, so I wanna change, you know, change skins almost," Li tells Exclaim! "I noticed that I'm like a shark. If I don't move, I wanna die, so it's a bad quality that I have, but I always feel like I have to move."

Faced with a brutally long Swedish winter, Li decided to set her sights on Los Angeles, where she spent six months writing and recording the album in the Echo Park neighbourhood of Los Angeles,

"I have bad, bad blood circulation, so I'm always cold," she says. "I just wanted to not freeze for once. I couldn't stand the thought of going back for winter, you know? I wanted change, and I've been very intrigued by California, so why not?"

Li goes on to say her fascination with California is less an individual one than a national obsession.

"I think we all [have a romanticized ideal of California], especially the Swedish. That's the most exotic place you can ever go. You can drink as much milkshake as you want."

She doesn't laugh at her own There Will Be Blood reference. Instead she's quick to insist it's not the glamour that beckoned, but something darker.

"I don't even like glamour, it's more the mystery, like watching a David Lynch film, like, 'Whoa, what is that place? I want to go there.' I like being outside, having breakfast outside. Like in Sweden, it's fucking cold, man, like the sun goes down at three or four, it's very hard to stay positive."

Wounded Rhymes is a vibrant record, full of nods to a more vintage Americana sound that lends the album its moments of innocence. At other times, though, it's a full-on rallying cry, thanks to an almost tribal drum beat that loosely threads its way through the album, until it finally subsides in the very last song, as if Li's savage beast was finally soothed.

"[California] brought my will to live back," she says. "It brought me back, my inspiration."

Wounded Rhymes will be released via Li's own LL Recordings and, as previously reported, will embark on a North American tour this spring. Canadian dates include a stop in Toronto on May 22 and in Vancouver on May 27. You can see all the scheduled dates here.