Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lykke Li - Youth Novels

Lykke Li
Youth Novels (LL Recordings, 2008)
Grade: B

Download: Lykke Li - "Breaking it Up"

The blogosphere is a harsh and bitter mistress. Go ask Tapes N' Tapes if you don't believe it. So, naturally, it is understandable that both excitement and skepticism would arise in the face of Swedish electro-pop songstress Lykke Li's released material, which has been praised frequently and in hyperbolic nature by most, if not all, of the blogosphere. The Little Bit EP, released stateside in May, focused on the softer side of Li's lyrical and musical personality. The arrangements of songs like "Time Flies" and "Little Bit consisted of bare, but still lush-sounding, electronic minimalism embellished with the occasional percussive quirk. Lyrically, Li played the role of doe-eyed school-girl in love, which proved to be both cloying and cute.

The good news with Youth Novels, Li's recently released debut album (stateside, at least) is that the tracks are fuller sounding (check out the warm orchestral glow of "Melodies and Desires" and "This Trumpet In My Head") in part, and Li is more the aggressor lyrically, which makes her sound more grown-up on songs like album standouts "Breaking it Up" and "I'm Good, I'm Gone", which both shine with a robotic cool. The bad news? Saddoes McBreathes-heavy is still around. ("Tonight"). But with that said, nothing here is ever less than listenable, due to the successful production of Björn Yttling and Li's gifts as a songwriter. Hopefully, she'll keep using those gifts to assert successfully, rather than to pine in an somewhat unconvincing manner.

Lykke Li MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

(Jonathan Graef)

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