BORN MELANCHOLY Sweden's Lykke Li

 

Lykke Li sees
the bright side of heartbreak.

BY ERIC SCHUMACHER-RASMUSSEN

 

Just when we’d gotten Peter Björn and John’s “Young
Folks” out of your head, along comes Lykke Li’s “Little Bit,” another
insidiously catchy, deceptively simple Swedish earworm to drive us mad. No
surprise to learn that the song, along with the rest of Li’s debut album Youth Novel# (LL Recordings), owes at
least part of its whispery lo-fi charm to Björn Yttling’s production, but the
22-year-old singer says the sound is all hers.

 

“I’ve had a vision of the
soundscape since I was a child, and that’s why I wanted Björn to be involved in
my record,” writes Li, in an email she dashed off between three weeks of
performing in the U.S. and a fortnight-long tour in the UK, adding that the two
began working together long before she’d even heard “Young Folks.”

 

And if you’re thinking
that the last thing the world needs is another twee-popster from Sweden, give a
listen to the pining, pulsing “Everybody But Me,” which also appeared on the Little Bit EP released in May, or better
yet, check out her collaboration with fellow Stockholm native Kleerup, “Until
We Bleed,” especially the “Mikael’s Cello Version,” neither of which are on Youth Novels but are well worth hunting
down online. Even the poppiest of Li’s songs float on an undercurrent of
unrequited love and lust, but “Until We Bleed” is a downright eerie lover’s
lament.

 

“I wrote it when I was
suffering from heartbreak,” she says. “At least I got a song out of it.
Melancholy is definitely a state I often find myself in. Sometimes I slide out
of it, but I always seem to come back. My mom thinks I was born that way.”

Leave a Reply