Sunday, April 20, 2008

Album Review: "Youth Novels" - Lykke Li

Firstly, shameful confession time.
I used to think that Lykke Li and Miss Li were one and the same person. Therefore I couldn't understand, around the beginning of 2008, why everyone was raving on about how good Lykke Li was. All that time I was thinking of Miss Li, as in "boring duet with Lars Winnerback", the same Miss Li who appeared at the Rockbjornen gala and left me thinking I'd never heard so much rubbish in my life.
I was wrong. Lykke Li is not Miss Li, although both are Swedish female singers with their own individual style. "Youth Novels", Lykke's debut album, is due to be released in the UK and Europe later this spring but has already been out for a couple of months in Sweden.
As critics worldwide are looking for "the new Robyn", i.e. someone young, female, offbeat, quirky and dabbling in electro pop, it's inevitable that some have tagged Lykke Li with this description. I can see where they're coming from, but feel that Lykke (I love that name!) still has a way to go to establish herself as a truly great talent - but bear in mind that it's taken Robyn 14 years to achieve her worldwide success.
The best tracks on this debut album are "Little Bit" (which is her best known song and possibly the most accessible track here) and "I'm Good, I'm Gone" which would sound fantastic in a dance remix. Any offers?
"My Love" is rather touching, a gentle acoustic ramble backed up with a strong drumbeat hook, whilst "Complaint Department" is a favourite of mine, with it's bleak electro backdrop and finger-wagging lyric - "if you want to complain/I'm not the complaint department!"
The album was produced by the Bjorn one out of Peter, Bjorn and John which may account for the sparse and slightly offbeat sounds throughout the album.
All in all it's a reasonable enough debut, and many of the tracks have a distinct charm, however it's best taken in small doses as Lykke's sugary sweet voice could potentially become irritating over the course of an album.
The Lemur Blog ( has called it the year's best debut and even described it as 'this year's "This is Who I Am"', well, IMHO, it's a long way from the greatness of that album but it's a fine debut indeed.

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