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After the recent release of her mournful breakup album I Never Learn, Lykke Li is taking her heartbreak on the road. The Swede is playing Vicar Street on Sunday November 16th. She’s also announced London and Manchester gigs that week as per below.
For her third album (of a loose trilogy including 2008’s Youth Novels and 2011’s Wounded Rhymes), the Swedish singer Lykke Li has embraced the hurt that comes from misplaced love, she has looked in the mirror and resolved to make a cathartic album out of the pain, like many in music before her.
“It’s about me and the guilt and the shame and the hurt and the pride and the confusion of being a woman,” she said earlier this year. Heartbreak is something that most of us have experienced by the end of their twenties, which is where Lykke is at (she’s 28).
“I’ll die here as your phantom lover”, “Lonely, I’m so alone now,” , “My one heart hurt another”, “Don’t leave me dying, without a lover to hold.” Judging from the lyrics from the album (or indeed the song titles ‘Never Gonna Love Again’, ‘Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone’, or ‘Sleeping Alone’), it’s very maudlin stuff.
The music on I Never Learn is suitably grandiose for songs which firmly address the aftermath of a relationship gone sour. ‘No Rest for the Wicked’ is the closest the album comes to any kind of radio single, its deep portentous bass sweeps and Li’s yearning vocals resonate clearly.
Production comes from Greg Kurstin who has worked with Foster the People, Sia and Shakira and Björn Yttling, who is on the third time around with Lykke Li. There’s plenty of epic arrangements; the title track’s acoustic rhythm is lifted with choir vocals (see also the gospel touches of ‘Heart Of Steel’) and melancholic strings. ‘Silverline’ makes use of twangy guitar, woodblock percussion and subtle orchestration while ‘Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone’ is the most unadorned song on the album, a simple stark acoustic song.
Cavernous reverb is on almost everything, to the point where it feels difficult to pinpoint individual instruments sometimes, such is the gel effect of the technique.
When it’s not all stirring strings, crystallised cymbals or resounding piano notes, it’s Lykke’s voice that brings everything into focus from the produced emulsion, providing the songs with the big connection: most notably on the title track, ‘Gunshot’ and ‘No Rest for the Wicked’. Those songs are cathartic, others are wallowing. How often you want to immerse yourself in that indulgent mood depends on where you’re at in your life too.
‘No Rest For The Wicked’ is my highlight of the Lykke Li songs from her new album of what we heard so far. A$AP Rocky has jumped on a Lana Del Rey track before so it’s not a big surprise but he’s at it again for another singer. He adds a verse, an intro and some extra sub-bass frequencies to the original’s ballad. The track originally appeared exclusively on Beats Music.
As ‘Love Me Like I’m Not Made Of Stone’ and the album trailer suggested, lykke Li’s third album I Never Learn will be heavy on the ballads. ‘No Rest For The Wicked’ is equally immersed in power balladry but with real emotion and without any histrionic bluster. The album is out on May 2nd.
Lykke Li announced details of her third album I Never Learn last week with a moody music-featuring trailer. The album will be out in May and she says it’s about “me and the guilt and the shame and the hurt and the pride and the confusion of being a woman.”
Now, we have the first full track, ‘Love Me Like I’m Not Made Of Stone’, stark acoustic track with Lykke looking rather despairing in the accompanying video by Tarik Saleh. Sounds like the last part of her album trilogy of albums that also includes Youth Novels and Wounded Rhymes may be a bit more direct and downbeat. She says:
“Every song on the album is a power ballad. Like one of those old radio stations. This is a slow dance; a slow burner.
I wrote it in Sweden when I was packing up my shit, and I’d just gotten out of a relationship and it was a horrible time. I just had the hurt, shame, sadness, guilt, longing. In the verse, I’m referring to myself pleading guilty but I’m referring to all of us.”
The album is out May 2nd and was co-produced by Björn Yttling, Greg Kurstin and Lykke Li in LA.
While the new Wye Oak song actually sounds like Fleetwood Mac, a slew of artists from Lykke Li, Beast Coast, MGMT, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, St. Vincent to The Kills have actually recorded covers of Fleetwood Mac songs for the upcoming A Tribute To Fleetwood Mac album due mid-August.