Lykke Li

Youth Novels | Atlantic
By SAM UBL  |  August 26, 2008
3.5 3.5 Stars
Lisa. Nora. Leslie. Lykke? As a category defined by its inoffensive prettiness has grown edgier, so, it seems, have the names. But not only does Lykke Li, Sweden’s hotly tipped bid for Starbucks stereoplay, pose the biggest pronunciation problem of any pop debutant since Björk, her Björn Yttling–produced debut, Youth Novels, one-ups the competition by being sillier, funkier, and less comfortable — more “Konichiwa Bitches” than Keren Ann. Whatever you think of Mr. Yttling’s band (with Peter and John), here he helps Lykke settle into natty lap-pop tracks that accommodate all the colors of the 22-year-old’s dusky voice. Youth Novels may lull listeners with æthereal soundscapes, but cute it ain’t. And thank goodness. “Complaint Department” encourages self-absorption’s obverse, self-reliance, over a stern electro pulse; “My” suns up its sappy sentiments with Beach Boys harmonies. But to applaud this record’s brass balls is by no means to overlook its outsize pleasures: the sweet hooks of “Breaking It Up” and standout single “I’m Good, I’m Gone” would charm far less without their tenacious beats.
Related: Peter Bjorn and John | Seaside Rock, Pretty and slow, Turning up, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , The Beach Boys, Keren Ann, Bjorn Yttling,  More more >
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