Swedish pop vocalist Lykke Li returns with her sophomore effort after her well received 2008 debut:
Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
I’m hoping the trait of female pop singers turning to the dark side is only a brief one, as Lykke Li has also caught the gloomsday bug. Desolation and angst runs rife thoughout each song which evoke images of despair and dread. Her vocals are eerie and often strangely unsettling as she cuts lyrics such as “I’m a Prostitute/ You’re gonna Get Some” with true desperation and dispondency over a clattering drum track.
Other choice moments of utter hopeless refrain include “The higher that I climb, The deeper that I fall down” leading a spectral whale choir on Love Out Of Lust and I need look further than the titles of Unrequited Love and Sadness Is A Blessing.
There are some significant pop melodies which try to give the album the shot in the arm It needs to save it from darkness. But despite the soaring chorus of Jerome and the psychadelic fanfare of Youth Knows No Pain, this album seals a one way ticket to depression.
Lykke Li’s scars are out on display here for all to see. All I can hope is that by the time the suporting album tour wraps up, she has sung her last Wounded Rhyme.
Mr Flowers Says:
Not content with following up Youth Novels with more of the same, Wounded Rhymes sees Lykke Li in some ways expanding her sound while in some places moving away from some of her more poppy tendencies for a more generous helping of moodier, slowed down numbers.
One of the bigger tunes on the album is Youth Knows No Pain, a Bluesy song that incorporates bongos and organs to create a pop song from out of the 60s that also allows Lykke to project her voice in ways she might not have been able to before. The musical progression is carried on by I Follow Rivers, Get Some, Rich Kid Blues – who all share some excellently rhythmic drumming and sing along choruses. Yet the more expansive songs are countered by a fair few slower ones which bring the whole jig down a few rungs, such as the country track Unrequited Love, I Know Places, and Silent My Song.
Vocally, Lykke is much more confident but we miss some of her fragile and sweet moments from Youth Novels. It’s difficult to point to a bad song on the record, maybe there aren’t any, but with a lower pop song to sad-song ratio than her début, this latest effort is somewhat more of a struggle for those of us who aren’t sophisticated, contemplative (ever-so slightly sombre) women.
DoesItRock Overall Score: 5.5/10
Listen to Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes now on Spotify!