Thursday, 17 March 2011

Mini Review: Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes

Lykke Li Zachrisson’s debut album Youth Novels was a minimalist, introspective dance-pop record which held a special place in several indie bloggers’ hearts. The Swedish singer’s follow up Wounded Rhymes feels like a reinterpretation of her first record: the stark arrangements feel lifted with the elements of folk balladry ("Unrequited Love") and swampy blues ("Get Some") and acoustic instrumentation, taking progressively darker, less electronic turns as the album progresses; yet at the centre remains Li’s tentative voice, still the most apparent aspect of her work, and considerably toughened. She comes across as a little wiser and knowledgeable, not quite the coy, precocious adolescent she seemingly pushed on Youth Novels opener "Melodies and Desires", and the stylistic change suits this new attitude. Wounded Rhymes sounds like the consequences of her innocence have caught up with her, but she manages to splendidly springboard away from her previous self and prove to be a versatile, individualistic pop singer. Even the bleakest songs here possess an assured confidence and sincerity; something which I didn’t like about Youth Novels was that Li appeared to be very self-motivated, but the issue here seems to have disappeared, with many songs carrying a painful weight behind them. Wounded Rhymes warms with repeated listens, allowing the listener to articulate its beauty. A great pop album in every sense, and one I’m glad didn’t pass me by.

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