Leading Ladies: Let’s Talk About Lykke Li (and Get Hyped for a New Album)

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A scene from the music video for Lykke Li’s new song, “Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone”. Her new album, “I Never Learn” will be released in North America on May 6.

The first time I heard a Lykke Li song was when I was in Australia, scrolling through a new playlist with some music recommended by a Swedish friend. By chance, I stopped on “Little Bit” and pressed play. As soon as the opening bars played and Lykke Li’s ethereal voice filled my headphones, I felt like I had connected to something on a very spiritual level.

That was in 2010, two years after the release of Li’s debut album, “Youth Novels”. When I listened to the entire album for the first time, I finally felt like I had found the perfect soundtrack to my tumultuous teenage years. There was a beautiful union between the lyrics, Li’s vocals, and the detailed instrumentation that felt as if this album was perfectly tailored to me.

Lykke Li
Swedish singer, Lykke Li, smirking because she knew she’d get me.

Fast forward a few months: I was still in Australia, nearly halfway through my study abroad year, when Li released her sophomore album, “Wounded Rhymes”, and the sequel soundtrack to the disaster that seemed to be my life could continue. As her music style grew, so did I, finding out that living in a new country all by myself was not just endless, carefree adventures but also involved a lot of heartache and introspection. As I meditated on what had passed and what I had left to expect, “Wounded Rhymes” played in the background, “Sadness Is A Blessing” and “Unrequited Love” getting the most replays.

Anyway, this is just a brief insight as to why hearing the news for Li’s third studio album almost had me in tears because somehow, her music always comes out in times of personal crisis, as if she knew that I needed something to guide me along. Am I being melodramatic? Probably. But there has only been a handful of musicians that have profoundly affected my life the way she has. When I saw the music video for Li’s latest song, “Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone”, released March 4, I was greatly uplifted and saddened all at once. Not an unpleasant feeling though because I did find solace in the fact that Li and I were going through tough times together.

The song is nothing short of heart-wrenching, inciting feelings of wanting to scream into a pillow and cry for a good hour (no, I did not do that but I was pretty close). Li’s voice is sharply emotional, cracking and falling over words that anyone who has a beating heart can relate to. A simple acoustic guitar accompanies her vocals but there’s a quality that’s added to both the instrumentation and vocals that makes it feel like she’s singing underwater and it adds to the melancholic feeling of the song. The lyrics would be unremarkable out of context but paired with Li’s pleading vocals, hearing her sing “Even though it hurts / Even though it scars / Love me when it storms / Love me when I fall” resonates deeply; wanting that someone who can still love you when you’re at your lowest point is something everyone is searching for.

The new album, “I Never Learn”, will be released in early May. The tracklist, courtesy of Pitchfork, has been released along with some international tour dates that only include New York and L.A. for North America but hopefully she’ll also do a complete North American tour and stop by in D.C. (a girl can dream, right?)

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