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She can do better than they could – Lykke Li’s Wounded Rhymes


“We will live longer than I will,  We will be better than I was,

We can cross rivers with our will, We can do better than I can,

So dance while you can, dance cause you must …

Love out of lust”

In an interview with Spin Magazine, Swedish songstress Lykke Li Zachrisson claims that she “got really offended when people talked about Youth novels as being soft and poppy. I didn’t want that to happen again.” I don’t think anyone would dare to write off her sophomore album, Wounded Rhymes as yet another trite, conventional pop album.  Her vocals are stronger and filled with raw emotion that pulls listeners in and refuses to let go.  After just one day of listening to her album, I found myself at work longing for another cigarette break just so I could listen to her voice once more.  I should mention that I gave up smoking a year ago. But to listen to her… is to love her. Discovering Lykke is like an infatuation with a new lover or an addiction to heroine, one just can never seem to get enough.

I was able to view her performance at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City on youtube and it was nothing short of mesmerizing.  Her face betrays every flicker of emotion she feels as she sings.  With Lykke there is no pretense or effort to look attractive and sexy as if she is merely performing for the audience and wishing to be admired.  Instead she comes across as a mysterious and luminous being from some other world and time.  One comment captured my thoughts exactly as I watched …”What kind of magic is this?”  Bjorn Yttling cowrote and produced both Zachrisson’s Youth Novels and Wounded Rhymes, and his insight and experience as part of Peter Bjorn and John seemed to have played a significant role in helping Lykke achieve the recognition she deserves.

Her voice has been likened to a young Stevie Nicks, but her sound is all her own.  Her talent just can’t be denied even amongst her peers.  Drake, Canadian rapper of notable fame sampled a remix of her song “A Little Bit” on his So Far Gone mix tape.  He has stated that “I don’t understand why she’s not the biggest artist already.  Everything in due time.”  A huge compliment from someone as motivated and talented as Drake. When I went to HMV to pick up her new album, I was surprised to see that it had been out since March 1st and I was not aware.  All the buzz that seems to surround a new album in the media seemed to elude Zachrisson’s Wounded Rhymes.  I was incredibly disappointed when I found no remaining copies on the shelf but my happiness returned once an employee found a copy for me in the backroom. By the way the name Lykke itself  actually means happiness, which is fitting since her music delivers exactly that.  I couldn’t wait to get home after work and listen to it.  Since I’ve started listening I haven’t been able to stop.  My personal favourites include, Love out of Lust, Get Some, Rich Kids Blues and Jerome.  Once you listen to any of these tracks you will be able to feel  the magic that is Lykke.  Sharing my most loved songs of hers with friends, her music preoccupies my mind while driving, working and I even play it before drifting off to sleep.

This album has songs that can rile you up and get you in the mood, songs that will make you reflect on love and the despair it can bring, the loneliness we are all subjected to at times and force listeners to ponder the meaning of our lives.  In the words of Zachrisson “life is like a flame and the ashes for wasting, so honey don’t be afraid to dance while we’re waiting.” Wounded Rhymes is a good reason to shake off your woes, celebrate life and dance without a care.  The accompanying instrumentals remind me of a tribal dance at times and the percussion, drums, bass and organ blend together so harmoniously that I know Lykke will soon have to deal with the magnitude of her talent when everyone becomes aware of her ethereal and unique voice.  In her interview with David Marchese of Spin Magazine, Zachrisson said “I wanted to sound like I was calling to you while you were floating in a cloud of DMT,” the drug reference is certainly indicative of the addiction that this album will create amongst listeners, as they revel and immerse themselves in the music Zachrisson creates.

On the last track of Wounded Rhymes, Lykke mournfully sings “You silent my song,” let’s hope that no one is ever able to silence her beautiful, enigmatic voice.

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