Tag Archive for 'Ystad'

AlmostAGhost’s Best Albums Of 2011 – #12. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes

Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes

delirious gestures are so easily misread

I’ve written about Lykke Li a couple of times on here, and both times I hinted at the general over-produced nature of her albums. And while I still believe that to be true, every time I step back a bit and just listen and take a wide look at Wounded Rhymes, I really dig it. I love her songs and every time I listened, I liked it more, so the album just climbed up my rankings here.

Lykke Li herself calls the songs “hypnotic, psychotic and more primal” (according to Wikipedia), which is probably the best description of Wounded Rhymes ever. The music throughout the album is catchy pop songs, at its core. I dare you not to be left humming along to “I Follow Rivers,” “Rich Kids Blues,” “Jerome,” any of them really. But this pop nature is rarely pure. Everything has a slightly eccentric twist. The driving rhythms are tempered by quiet melodies, flashes of country and rock and dance and ambient flesh the pop songs out. Lykke Li, perhaps unexpectedly, can blend genres as easily as anyone.

As for the “psychotic and primal” part of these songs, much of that is in the lyrics. Each song is extremely direct. The songs are always very much in the now. “Once again it’s happening…” she starts on “Unrequited Love.” “I know places we can go, babe.” Later, she flat-up declares, “I’m your prostitute / you’re gonna get some.” Most of the songs are in the present tense, and come off quite urgent.

Along with this urgency, most of the songs are also entirely one-direction. That is, there is little indication that love is being returned (“Unrequited Love”), the rivers want to be followed (“I Follow Rivers”), Jerome won’t leave (“Jerome”), that she can actually get love out of lust (“Love Out Of Lust”). That’s what makes these songs so cool and unique, but perhaps also what is slightly off-putting about them as well. “I ranted / I pleaded / I begged you not to go,” and does that ever work? The pain and wounds she sings of — they’re real, but also in a way… not so much. “My wounded rhymes make silent cries tonight,” she melodramatically sings, “sadness is my boyfriend, oh sadness, I’m your girl.”

I also should note that I’m probably just barely scratching the surface here. A lot of the stuff she writes about has deeper levels, about selling out as a musician (“I’m your prostitute / you’re gonna get some”) and all this heartbreak may not necessarily even be relationship-based. As she explained the metaphor in this interview, “A lot of times, you’re breaking your own heart. For me, it was realizing that what I thought was love really isn’t love. It’s about that, the ghost of love.”

Those depths in the music and the feelings are what kept pulling me back into Wounded Rhymes, one of my favorite albums of the year.

Lykke Li “Sadness Is A Blessing”

Lykke Li “Youth Knows No Pain”

- almostaghost

Life In Mixtape Form #16

Like last week, my week was again highlighted by a concert. This time I went to see Lykke Li (and Best Coast). I’ve seen Lykke before, in a small venue, but I found this bigger outdoor theatre performance to be much more memorable. I think it fit her unique stage presence. Part of that was having a 2nd album of songs–she just kept playing more and more songs that I liked and I kept thinking, “oh yea I forgot about this song!” It was great to hear the new stuff live; sometimes I just listen to the albums so much and sometimes I get a little nitpicky critical in thinking about them. But then to hear them live makes me step back–yes these are great songs.

(Best Coast was fine; all their songs sound the same.)

- almostaghost

Lykke Li In The Street: A YouTube Exploration

So I’ve been enjoying the new Lykke Li album, which led me of course to poke around YouTube one night watching some of her videos. Turns out, she has a number of videos, performing acoustic in the street! How cool! My one minor criticism of the new record is it feels slightly overproduced, and I really like hearing her songs stripped down like this. Obviously, these are all from her first album, instead of her new album since that just came out. But let’s look:

Here’s Lykke and her band singing “Little Bit” on the street in Stockholm. Pure busking! A guy in the window shouts to be quiet or he’ll call the police. A car drives by. The same guy is converted and throws them money at the end.

This one’s incredible. Lykke Li sings, dances, plays the trumpet, and rattles chains while Bon Iver (!) jam on the edge of a fountain. I am not sure why Lykke Li was hanging out with Bon Iver, but they should more. Also apparently Lykke Li plays the trumpet.

Another one outdoors here, it’s “Dance Dance Dance” again, but this time with El Perro Del Mar as her backup. (Kazoo this time, not a trumpet.)

This “I’m Good, I’m Gone” is not out in public, but it is acoustic and apparently outdoors, so close enough.

This one here might be my favorite, and it features Robyn on the chorus! But I can’t embed it, so you have to click over.

And since I don’t like to leave you without music, here’s Beck’s remix of her new single “Get Some”:

Lykke Li – “Get Some (Beck remix)”

- almostaghost