CD Wounded Rhymes [Lykke Li] [825646744404] (CD 7016678),
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Wounded Rhymes [Lykke Li] [825646744404]

  • 1. Youth Knows No Pain
    2. I Follow Rivers
    3. Love Out of Lust
    4. Unrequited Love
    5. Get Some
    6. Rich Kids Blues
    7. Sadness Is a Blessing
    8. I Know Places
    9. Jerome
    10. Silent My Song
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 526549

  • Credits
    ProducerBjorn Yttling
    EngineerJanne Hansson; Hans Stenlund; Bjorn Yttling; Lasse Martin

    Audio Mixer: Lasse Mrtn.
    Recording information: Atlantis Studios; Decibel Studios; Hogalid Studios.
    Photographer: Roger Deckker.
    Returning to the album game three years after the charmingly curious Youth Novels, Lykke Li Zachrisson has grown up and moved away a little bit from the rather timid, waifish, precocious young woman of her debut. She hasn't entirely let go of her girlish sweetness, and she certainly hasn't lost her way with a melodic hook, but she's largely outgrown the more cloyingly precious, occasionally clumsy tendencies that sometimes plagued her debut, and her singing voice, while still appealingly personable and distinctive, has gotten considerably more forceful. Indeed, despite its vulnerable title, Wounded Rhymes practically oozes confidence, barreling out of the gate with the swaggering, rabble-rousing "Youth Knows No Pain," all in-the-red handclaps, hip-shaking drums and tambourines, and downright nasty, psych-damaged organ, as Li sneeringly exhorts us to "C'mon honey, blow yourself to pieces." Even with a roughly even ratio of ballads to rockers, and a fair complement of woebegone lyrics, there's a similar sense of toughness throughout. But it's a fleshy, lived-in toughness, equally unabashed about declarations of love (the deeply romantic "I Follow Rivers," the powerfully passionate "Love out of Lust," and the borderline obsessive "Jerome"), and provocations like the fierce, sexually aggressive "Get Some." Musically, Li and returning producer/co-writer Bjorn Yttling (of Peter Bjorn and John) use the bare-bones, rhythmically oriented textures of Youth Novels (and of his band's 2009 album Living Thing) as a springboard, keeping starkly intimate vocals, clattering drums, and all manner of oddball percussion sounds at the forefront (check "Rivers"' fetchingly wonky, detuned xylophone riff), but they flesh things out somewhat with guitars and organs, frequently multiplying Li's voice to create an ad hoc backup choir, resulting in a considerably fuller-sounding effort that still feels grittily immediate and raw. Rhymes also reveals, and revels in, Li's fondness for '50s and '60s rock and pop, hearkening equally to classic girl group sounds and harder-edged garage rock. In fact, she and Yttling pull out just about every time-worn trick in the throwback pop playbook: doo wop arpeggios and "shoo-wop shoo-wop" backups on the gentle "Unrequited Love," a thunderous Bo Diddley beat and tremulous spy/surf guitar on "Get Some," seedy "96 Tears"-derived organ on "Rich Kid Blues," and "Be My Baby" drums, and Spector-ian orchestra bells on the big ballad centerpiece "Sadness Is a Blessing." But despite that plethora of knowing musical allusions, this is by no means a stale, cut-and-dried retro affair. On the contrary: it's an inspired, rugged, smart, emotive, coolly modern piece of indie pop, and an improvement on Lykke Li's debut in just about every respect. ~ K. Ross Hoffman

  • Critic Reviews
    Rolling Stone (p.70) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[H]er guiding spirit seems to be Phil Spector, and she laces the music with booming percussion and girl-group-style romantic melodrama."
    Spin (p.82) - "'Unrequited Love,' a sort of Spector-ish torch song, with its lightly strummed guitar and girl-group shoowop-shoowas, is one of the year's saddest, prettiest moments."
    Spin (p.51) - Ranked #10 in Spin's 'The Top 40 Albums Of 2011' -- "On tribal stompers, groovy psychedelic tunes, and Wall of Sound symphonies zooted on Ambien, she plays soothsayer, temptress, and Ronette."
    Entertainment Weekly (p.75) - "WOUNDED is hungry, dark, dirty....It's futile to deny her." -- Grade: A
    Entertainment Weekly (p.100) - Ranked #3 in Entertainment Weekly's 'The Top 10 Albums Of 2011' -- "With enough doomed romance to make the Shangri-La's cry, Lykke Li captures the sadness of unrequited love..."
    Billboard (p.36) - "Sonically it's a super-charged take on the girl-group sound, with thundering drums, multilayered vocals, heart-wrenching lyrics and loads of echo..."
    Uncut (magazine) (p.85) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he sublimely spooked alt.folk lament 'I Know Places' reveals an eccentric and original talent..."
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