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Lykke Li


Country of origin:

Sweden

Type of music generally:

Indie pop

Status:

Most recent release, I Never Learn (2014)

See also:

Lykke Li's site

Comparisons:

Not sure. She's received comparisons to Feist, iamwhoiami, Banks, Grimes, Lana del Rey, Sky Ferreira, Oh Land, Ellie Goulding, and Marina and the Diamonds, among others.

Covers/own material:

Own and co-written

General comments:

Should definitely appeal to all fans of Feist, New Buffalo, and Emiliana Torrini. (christina_skov@hotmail.com)

I second the recommendation of Lykke Li. Very nice stuff. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)

Comments about live performance:

When an artist doesn't know enough songs to fill 55 minutes (including two covers and juvenalia), it's perhaps a sign that they're being hyped too early. Watching Lykke Li is fun—the shabby punk guitar and drums mixed with electronic pop and hip hop can highlight both rhythm and melody. "Little bit", "I'm good I'm gone", "Dance dance dance" and a couple other songs had the audience bouncing along and smiling. She wore a black leotard and tights, towering pumps and layers of fat gold necklaces, but even when shaking her hips and poking her breasts with her drumstick, she seemed un-coquettish. Lykke frowned lots, attacked the drums, shook and whacked hand-held percussion instruments, sang with a megaphone and worked the whole stage, which was in the round. She's furiously energetic, with mad dancing that's both silly theater (hand to forehead, hair tossing, fist pumping) and the jerky kicks and flailing of someone who is happy to dance for themselves, unconcerned what they look like. Then there are the teenage ballads, where Lykke thumps the air like a heavy metal diva, the reverb struggles to cover wobbling notes and boost her airy voice, and audience members snigger or wander off for beer. They closed with "Can I kick it?" (A tribe called quest). We supplied Lou Reed's doo doo-doos. Cute, but ways to go. (2008, k_hester_k@yahoo.co.nz)

Today I finally got around to watching the episode of Austin City Limits on PBS that I taped late last month, with Florence and the Machine and Lykke Li. Lykke Li is less of a belter than Florence, but also decidedly unethereal. And her lyrics are less complex, but still far more literate than a lot of the music that's pitched at the mass market. All in all, an hour of very satisfying viewing and listening. (2012, mapravat@prairienet.org)

Recommended first album:

Youth Novels

Recordings:


Youth Novels

Release info:

2008—LL Recordings/Atlantic—2-512707

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Lykke Li

Guest artists:

Björn Yttling —vibraphone (1); acoustic guitar (1-5, 8, 9, 14); celeste (1, 3, 6, 8); piano (1, 3, 6, 8, 10-14); synthesizer (1, 3, 5, 10, 11); snare (2); backing vocals (2, 5, 11, 14); percussion (3, 6, 7); electric bass (3, 5, 6, 10-12); drums (4); string arrangement (5, 11); harpsichord (5, 8); organ (6); rock-si-chord (6, 14); keyboards, mandolin (7); foot stomp (8); flute, trumpet (12)
Walter Sear—theremin (1, 10, 14)
Per Ruskträsk Johansson—saxophone (1, 2, 4, 5); flutes (5, 6)
John Eriksson—drums (2, 14); percussion (2, 3, 12, 13); cymbal (7); mellotron (13)
Lars Skoglund—percussion (3); drums (3, 5, 12, 13); cowbell (6); hi hat (11)
Mapei—backing vocals (3, 5, 11)
Lissy Trullie—backing vocals (3, 5, 11)
Johan "Zilverzurfarn" Zachrisson—acoustic guitar, foot stomp (4)
Dylan Von Wagner—backing vocals (5)
Peter Morén—backing vocals (5, 14)
Andreas Forsman—violin (5, 11)
Erik Arvinder—violin (5, 11)
Erik Holm—viola (5, 11)
Henrik Söderquist—cello (5, 11)
Markus Ollikainen—trumpet (9)
The Suzan (Saori, Rie, Miyuki, Nico)—backing vocals (11)
Lasse Mårtén—percussion (11)

Produced by:

Björn Yttling, Lasse årtén

Comments:

Completely infectious—the charm of Björk but more accessible while still quirky. (jjhanson@att.net)

Really original work. There are catchy pop songs, a bit of spoken word stuff, but all a little bit off-center. Interesting instrumentation too. (JoAnn Whetsell)

One of the best albums of the year. (christina_skov@hotmail.com)


Wounded Rhymes

Release info:

2011—LL Recordings/Atlantic—2-526549

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Lykke Li—vocals

Guest artists:

Zhala Rifat—backing vocals (1-7, 9, 10)
Mariam Wallentin—backing vocals (1-7, 9, 10)
Björn Yttling—bass, percussion (1-3, 5, 7, 9); organ (1-3, 7, 9, 10); backing vocals (2, 3, 8, 10); piano, (2, 3, 5, 9, 10); guitar (2-5, 7-9)
Rick Nowels—guitar (1); organ (3)
Lars Skoglund—percussion (1); drums (1-3, 5, 6, 9, 10)
John Eriksson—drums (1, 2, 5); percussion (1, 2, 4-6, 9, 10)
Dag Lundquist—percussion (1, 2, 7)
Anders Stenberg—guitar (5, 6); backing vocals (6, 10)
Micke Svensson—percussion (5); organ (6); guitar (10)
Hans Stenlund—percussion (9)
Lasse Mårtén—percussion (9)

Produced by:

Björn Yttling

Comments:

Lykke Li showed such huge promise on her first release—this is still quite good, but didn't quite live up the potential I'd hoped for. One of the best albums of the year. (jjhanson@att.net)

I was excited by "I Follow Rivers," but I quickly grew tired of it. The rest of her album didn't excite me. (christina_skov@hotmail.com)

Darker and more mature than Youth Novels. The little girl voice is gone, which I'm glad for, even if some stylistic diversity and catchiness went with it. I think it's a really strong album. It's the one that made me a fan. (JoAnn Whetsell)

One of the best albums of the year. (gordoja@optonline.net)


I Never Learn

Release info:

2014—Atlantic—542391-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Lykke Li—vocals and harmonies

Guest artists:

Björn Yttling—acoustic guitar, taurus, zither, piano, electric bass, mellotron, sitar,percussion
Greg Kurstin (the bird and the bee)—drums, keyboards, piano, orchestron, guitar, bass, organ, mellotron, percussion, electric guitar
Rick Nowels—acoustic guitar
Lars Skoglund—drums, percussion
Lasse Mårtén—percussion, drum programming
Anders Pettersson—steel guitar, electric guitar
Amanda Hollingby Matsson—additional vocals
Andreas Forsman—violin
Calle Olsson—synthesizer
Cecilia Linné—cello
Christopher Öhman—viola
Conny Lindgren—violin
Erik Arvinder—violin
Erik Holm—viola
John Eriksson—percussion
Ketil Solberg—violin
Leo Svensson—cello
Mariam Wallentin—additional vocals
Thomas Tjärnkvist—electric guitar

Produced by:

Lykke Li (1-9); Björn Yttling (1-4, 6-9); Greg Kurstin (5, 9)

Comments:

Has a lot of songs that seem to drag on without going anywhere. Rating: 47/100. Best track: "No Rest for the Wicked." (raschee@gmail.com)

A short but really powerful album. It's brighter in sound than Wounded Rhymes, though the lyrics still deal with heartbreak. Check out "No Rest for the Wicked," "Gunshot," "Never Gonna Love Again," or "Heart of Steel." (JoAnn Whetsell)

One of the best albums of the year. (gordoja@optonline.net)


Further info:

Compilation work includes:
  • "Possibility" on The Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack (2009)
  • "Silver Springs" on Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac (2012)
  • "No One Ever Loved" on The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack (2014)
These tracks do not appear on Lykke Li's own releases.

Collaborations include:

  • "Black Tin Box" with Mike Snow on his album Happy to You (2012)
  • The Troubles" with U2 on their album Songs of Innocence (2014)


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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