Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wounded Rhymes proves Lykke Li is ready for the big time

There are two types of albums. The first kind features two or maybe three songs that just totally blow your mind. You know, the type of tune that screams song of the year and stays on your playlist for months on end. Meanwhile, the rest of the album fails to live up to the gold standard of those obligatory smashes.

Then there are albums that are a tad more consistent. There may not be any songs that reshape your perceptions of music, but every track is consistently good, some even great.

Lykke Li's Wounded Rhymes falls into the latter category. Prepare to be swept away by the thick sultry voice of this Swedish chanteuse. Perhaps her greatest strength is her ability to evoke a wide array of emotions. Li goes from being fun and playful on cuts like "I Follow Rivers" and "Youth Knows No Pain" to mournful on "Unrequited Love" and thoughtful and pensive on "Sadness is a Blessing" and "Rich Kids Blues."

You're also sure to notice a dash of sexuality also mixed into the pot here. It may be most noticeable on the aggressively erotic "Get Some," but also rears its head on a couple other places on the album.

Throughout the disc you'll hear a very subtle but definite 60s pop/soul vibe, particularly in some of the synthesizer sequences. The opener, "Youth Knows No Pain," sports a sort of 60s spy film vibe.

One of the best cuts may be "Love Out of Lust." It's majestic, breathtaking, and powerful, like the musical equivalent of  rowing your canoe down a channel in Venice. something I haven't heard a pop song that's pulled that off since Madonna's Ray of Light.

If there's anything I'd have liked seen handled differently, it's in the backing music. It's pretty minimalistic for the most part, which leaves Li to carry each song on her own. She does a more than adequate job, but I think they could add a little more flavor if the instrumentation/backing music was spiced up a little.

At any rate, Wounded Rhymes is sure to serve a a major coming out party for this killer new songstress, and with all the different styles she pulls off it should be easy to find something here that suits your fancy.

Score: 79/100

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