Band – Lykke Li

Lykke Li can’t stay still. Her life and her career are relentlessly pulled forward by an impatient desire to see what’s just around the corner, her music full of ideas about moving on and breaking free. Just 18 months ago she was complaining to her mentor, Bjorn ‘of Peter and John fame’ Yttling, that everything had gone wrong because she was 20 and still hadn’t released an album. Now 22, she’s finding that things are on track. With the release of that album in Sweden through her own label LL Recordings in January of this year, she’s been surprised and maybe a little embarrassed to find that the world is falling at her feet. She’s just the kind of person people can’t help falling in love with. The album ‘Youth Novels’, in all its minimalist brilliance, is now scheduled for a well-deserved UK release this summer.

You’ll soon be hearing one of the most perfect albums you’ll hear all year. Just as her music sometimes seems to have arrived from another planet, Lykke Li is not quite like anyone you’ve met before. Sometimes nervous but exceptionally impatient, she knows she’s almost too fragile for the success that lies ahead, but she’s storming on regardless.

Record Label: Atlantic Records
Label Type: Major Label

Lykke Li ‘Youth Novels’

Lykke Li 'Youth Novels'
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Posted in Music by domalessio on Nov 03, 01:00PM
Lykke Li
Youth Novels
(Warner Music)

Though the album might be credited to Lykke Li, don’t be fooled: the real star of Youth Novels is Björn Yttling. The producer – of Peter, Björn and John fame – and co-writer of this Swedish pixie’s debut album creates arrangements that conflate a sugary pop aesthetic with sparse, minimal folktronica. It bolsters songs that, at their heart, are fairly pedestrian and underthought.

There are competing forces at work for Li: she’s evidently enamoured of pop and indie folk but she’s attempting to incorporate avant-garde electronica influences into the mix as well. It’s kind of like contorting Bjork to make her a twee indie artist, then replacing her voice with that of a ten year old child. Kudos to Li for trying to smuggle obtuse concepts into the pop idiom, but her disparate ideas rarely seem to galvanise on Youth Novels.

And yes, that voice – that saccharine coo which whimpers and whispers through fifty minutes of music. For some, it’s cute and endearing. For me, it’s like nails on a blackboard. Li’s soprano squeak doesn’t have the vocal strength to hold notes so her words fall by the wayside, syllables tumbling into oblivion. It grates on the weak ‘Everybody But Me’ and ‘Window Blues’ with its pseudo-sexual stomp.

Sometimes the vast array of musical ideas coalesces to form something that’s entertaining. The dark synths and stuttering beat of ‘Complaint Department’ are beguiling, particularly if you disregard bad lyrical platitudes like “If you wanna complain / I’m not the complaint department.” Then there’s a surprising Polynesian undercurrent that rears like its head in the vocal harmonies of ‘Dance, Dance, Dance’ and the hula sway of ‘My Love’.

But it’s ‘I’m Good, I’m Gone’ that’s the standout tune. There’s a strength and solidity behind the arrangement as well as Li’s voice. It’s simple but effective; catchy like a good pop song should be. Too often Li confuses catchy with repetitive, looping phrases and riffs in the hope that the more you hear them, the more you’ll get them stuck in your head. But it’s more a case of: the more you hear them, the quicker you tire. This is evident on the cyclical ‘Tonight’ that highlights a paucity of ideas through Li’s incessant repetition of “Don’t you let me go, let me go tonight.” Sorry Lykke Li, but I’m not sticking around.

Dom Alessio

Lykke Li

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Lykke Li
Lykke Li

Lykke Li
Background information
Birth name Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson
Born March 18, 1986 (1986-03-18) (age 22)
Origin Ystad, Skåne, Sweden
Genre(s) Pop
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Years active 2007–present
Label(s) LL Recordings

Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson (born March 18, 1986), better known by her stage name Lykke Li IPA: [ˈlʏkə li], is a Swedish indie singer.

Li was born in Ystad, Skåne, in Sweden, in 1986 and was raised by artistic parents; her mother was a photographer, her father is a musician.[1] The family moved to Stockholm when Li was a toddler and later moved to a mountaintop in Portugal when Li was six, where they lived for five years; the family also spent time in Lisbon and Morocco and spent winters in Nepal and India.[1][2] She moved to New York for three months when she was 19.[3][4] She returned when she was 21 to record her album.[5] Contrary to what many believe she has been a backup dancer only once.[5] When not touring, she resides in the Södermalm district of Stockholm.

She released her first album, Youth Novels on LL Recordings in the Nordic region on February 4, 2008 and it received a wider European release in June, 2008. The album was produced by Björn Yttling of Peter Bjorn and John and Lasse Mårtén. It was released in the United States on 6 May 2008. The album was released in the Republic of Ireland on June 6, 2008 and June 9 in the UK.

She had some success with the EP “Little Bit” in 2007. Stereogum named her an artist to watch in October 2007 and described her music as a mix of soul, electro and “powdered-sugar pop”.[6]

She also appeared on Swedish musician Kleerup‘s self titled album, contributing vocals to the track “Until We Bleed”.



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[edit] Discography

[edit] Albums

  • Youth Novels (2008) Sweden #3, Republic of Ireland #66, UK #112, #18 US Heatseekers

[edit] EPs and singles

  • Little Bit EP (2007)
  • “Tonight” (2008)
  • “I’m Good, I’m Gone” (2008)
  • “Breaking It Up” (2008)
  • “Little Bit” (2008)

[edit] B-sides

  • “I Don’t Mind (Jump On It)” – 4:13 included on the Swedish and UK 2-track single of “I’m Good, I’m Gone”
  • “After Laughter” – 3:41 included on the UK digital single of “Little Bit”
  • “Until We Bleed” – Kleerup feat. Lykke Li – 4:29 included on the Swedish 2-track single of “Tonight”

[edit] Guest appearances

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b Cripps, Charlotte (200806-23). “Lykke Li: The Swedish pop sensation shows wisdom beyond her years“, The Independent (London). Retrieved on 28 June 2008.
  2. ^ Parkin, Chris (200801-28). “Lykke Li: interview“, Time Out (London). Retrieved on 28 June 2008.
  3. ^ Paphides, Pete (200805-16). “Swede unsoured: Lykke Li Zachrison on pursuit of the breakthrough“, The Times (London). Retrieved on 28 June 2008.
  4. ^ Toms, Katie (200806-01). “Meet the Swede sensation“, The Guardian (London). Retrieved on 28 June 2008.
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ Stereogum Artist to Watch

[edit] External links

Killahbeez Exclusive: An Interview with Lykke Li

Posted on 09 September 2008 by Mona Alice Oakenfold

Swedish songstress Lykke Li is all but 22 years old, but her debut album, Youth Novels, is making heads turn. An explosion of electronic pop-rock with a little new age thrown into the mix, Lykke Li’s raspy, almost childlike vocals transcend lightly-layered, minimalist instrumentals. Singles “I’m Good I’m Gone,” “Little Bit” and “Breaking It Up” are already impacting global airwaves, not to mention Lykke Li’s avant-garde sense of personal style, which has been heavily noted by more than one fashionista. Despite her busy touring schedule (read: over 25 stops which include Paris, London, New York, Vancouver, San Francisco and Copenhagen), Lykke Li gave Killahbeez a hot minute to answer a few questions that have been on our minds.

You’ve been touring a lot lately! First with El Perro Del Mar and now, solo. How is that going?

It’s going very well, thank you. Over my expectations!

You’ve got a ton of dates scheduled for the U.K. in the fall. Is that where your main fan base is outside of Sweden?

I think so, since I’ve been spending more time there lately then in Sweden. Also my label is signed there.

You’ve been doing the whole summer festivals thing. How do you find that in comparison to playing smaller venues? Do you have a preference?

I find it quite intimidating sometimes ’cause it’s hard working up a vibe if its daytime and thousands of people. My favorite is always to play really late at a really small club.

How did you get started in the music biz? Is it something that you knew you always wanted to do?

You never know exactly what to do ’cause the picture you have in your head does not really fit into reality, but I always knew I wanted to be an artist. And about the biz, it’s just a struggle!

If you weren’t a singer, what would you be doing right now?

Finding myself, educating myself, releasing myself, somewhere down south…

How was it recording the tracks for Youth Novels? What was the process? How was working with Bjorn Yttling and Lasse Marten?

The whole project started kind of loose and spread out, and I love those two guys. It was only in the final recordings in NY that got really intense, but it was a lot of laughter and brainstorming going on… and champagne.

What were your goals and expectations when you recorded the album?

To make an honest and complete album and to not limit myself. I didn’t think about anyone else but me during that period. No expectations but my own.

It seems like a lot of your songs are about unrequited love and love lost. Even with the more upbeat songs or brighter melodies, your lyrics are quite sad and dark. Was that a purposeful theme when writing the album?

No, those were just the things I was going through at the moment…

While dark, your album is very danceable. You once worked as a dancer on a TV show and you dance a lot in your videos too. Is that something that was important to you when writing songs? Making them danceable?

I did not really work as a dancer on TV, as people would like to think. I danced behind another artist ONCE when I was 15. I don’t intend to make dance music, I don’t even like dance music, but I guess it kinda happens naturally…

Who are some of your musical inspirations/ influences?

Edith Piaf, Nina Simone, Dr. John, the Shangri-Las and the Fugees.

You lived in a lot of different countries growing up… Sweden, Portugal, Morocco, India… Has living in these places informed your music and style?

I only lived permanently in Sweden and Portugal and traveled to the other places, and no, I don’t think it influenced my music. Solitude in Stockholm influenced my music.

You left home for New York to record your album when you were 19. How was that experience?

I did not record the album that time. I actually did it the second time I got to NY when I was 21. They were both amazing experiences in very different ways.

Who would you love to do a collaboration with in the future?

Bon Iver, Beirut and Phil Spector.

You’ve become a bit of a style icon yourself. How would you describe your personal style?

Hmmm, have I really? My style is a bit schizo but I have a lot of black clothes and a lot of vintage.

What are three items you can’t live without?

Water, music and family.

Any upcoming plans you’d like to share with your fans besides touring?

I like to keep my plans secret until they’re accomplished. It’s a too high risk of failing otherwise.

Anything else you’d like to say to your fans?

I’m really thankful you’ve given me the oppurtunity to express myself at such early stage, and this is just the first shaky baby steps of my career. I will grow as well as you! One love.


Sweden’s Lykke Li can’t stay still. Her life and her career are relentlessly pulled forward by an impatient desire to see what’s just around the corner, her music full of ideas about moving on and breaking free. Just eighteen months ago, she was complaining to her mentor, Bjorn “of Peter and John fame” Yttling, that everything had gone wrong because she was twenty and still hadn’t released an album. Now twenty-two, she’s finding that things are on track: With the release of her debut album in Sweden through her own label, LL Recordings, in January of this year, she’s been surprised and maybe a little embarrassed to find that the world is falling at her feet. She’s just the kind of person people can’t help falling in love with. The album, entitled Youth Novels, is now scheduled for a well-deserved US release on August 26th via her own label, LL Recordings.

Lykke Li

Recorded with Bjorn over the last 10 months, Youth Novels weaves its way through 14 perfectly-realized chapters. You’ll hear harpsichords, flutes, and theremins throughout the album but you’ll also hear Lykke Li’s magnificently brittle, candy coated vocals. The record is like a well-thumbed paperback which falls open again and again on the same pages: love, loneliness, frustration and obsession – the chronicles of LL’s life so far, told with unusual honesty. It includes recent hit “Little Bit” (released on an EP this May), continues with the punchy throb of “I’m Good I’m Gone,” whose video is already making waves around the internet, and brilliant songs like reluctant breakup anthem “Breaking It Up,” “Let It Fall” and “Hanging High.” Throughout, there’s a sense of momentum and a pursuit of some unobtainable goal. “I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied and calm,” Lykke Li admits. “Even now I wonder how I’m going to live a whole lifetime, feeling how I do now…”

If you’re wondering where Lykke Li’s (first name Lykke Li, last name Zachrisson) fidgety, keep-on-moving attitude began, let’s rewind twenty-two years to the very beginning of her nomadic life. We’re in northern Europe, and Chernobylised clouds have chosen to dump their radioactive rain down on Stockholm. A new sense of environmental consciousness grips the country and LL’s parents – her mother a photographer, her father a musician – move from the city to the country and then, selling everything they own, to Portugal, where they buy land and build a house in a small village in the mountains. As the years tick by, the family moves to Lisbon, then back to Sweden. Every year, the family escapes Sweden’s gloomy winters to India, then return in the summer. At nineteen, she ended up in New York City for a few months, performing at open mic nights and pretending to be a Swedish superstar in order to get gigs. By twenty, she was back in Sweden, working with the incredible Bjorn Yttling, on her first collection of songs. Indeed, her passport may be Swedish, but life has shown that Lykke Li is from a little bit of everywhere, with a perfect balance of global city and suburb that pours from the organic, digital feel of her songs.

In October 2007, Lykke Li returned to New York to finish recording Youth Novels – the result being one of the most perfect pop albums you’ll hear all year. Just as her music sometimes seems to have arrived from another planet, Lykke Li is not quite like anyone you’ve met before. And if the response to Youth Novels around the world thus far has been any indication, she’s an artist with whom you’ll be spending a lot of time this year and beyond…

press quotes
“She just may be the perfect barometer of what makes the chic style of quirky artistic sensibility and perfect hooks of Swedish indie pop so fascinating.” — Fader Magazine

“She’s got the charming eccentricity of Regina Spektor and the confident cool of M.I.A.” — Blender

“One of the best pop albums in ages. Irresistible, in all senses.” — Dazed & Confused

“Youth Novels showcases the best skewed-pop since Robyn.” — The Times

“Imagine The Neptunes remixing “Joe le taxi” as performed by Peter, Bjorn &John… Simple but sensational.” — NME

“Imagine The Neptunes remixing “Joe le taxi” as performed by Peter, Bjorn &John… Simple but sensational.” — World Magazine

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