Published Jun 05, 2018Lykke Li returns with her fourth studio album, so sad so sexy; it feels like the perfect followup to her 2014 release I Never Learn, a heart-wrenching breakup album and she sticks to a similar subject matter. This time around, her sound is more pop-inspired and dynamic. so sad so sexy is a unique approach to Li's previous work, yet it all feels far too familiar. Another emotionally rich album doesn't make this one stand out from anything else, but still has its charm.
Li's partnership with expert producers saves the sound of this album; you almost forget it's just another melancholy effort. In collaboration with rapper Aminé, "two nights" is a slow, ambient jam with a sparse instrumental. A song about Li reflecting upon an absent partner, she sings "Two nights in a row, where'd you go / I've been smoking / Two nights in a row, now I know / That it's broken." Aminé slips in at the end tying everything together. Co-produced by T-Minus and Malay, "deep end" has a similar hip-hop vibe, where Li gracefully croons over a trap-like beat, adding an expansive sound to this track.
"hard rain" is a less impressive song on the record. High-pitched, layered vocals at the beginning mimic a long drone, making the experience feel dragged out and dull. It's a hazy, synth-heavy tune that just doesn't play out the way you'd like it to. There are slower, hard-hitting tracks that compensate, such as "last piece" and "utopia." They're less ambitious than what fans know of Lykke Li, but still playable.
so sad so sexy is an unusual blend of pop and R&B inspiration, but it's not a memorable album. Lykke Li scratches the bare surface of the talent she possesses, making you wish there was just a little more energy. (RCA)