LYKKE LI-“Youth Novels”

I’m having trouble finding out much about Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson (stage name “Lykke Li”). I received her “Little Bit” EP in the mail a few months ago, and now I’ve received her debut, “Youth Novels” (two songs from the album are also on the EP), which has been released overseas but doesn’t appear to have a U.S. distributor yet. RIAA Radar has her on several labels, and not all indie ones at that, and the CD I got looks like a PR company burn job. I’m reviewing it because it’s good, and because it sounds like it should be indie.

“Youth Novels” is very good. It’s sexy in the cold, sexless way Bjork is sexy. It’s quirky in the mainstream pop way that Tori Amos is quirky. “Little Bit,” the (well-selected) single is the most mainstream tune on the record, and it’s great, but don’t let it keep you from digging deeper. “Breaking It Up,” with its child-like sing-a-long and sugary innocence hides a sad song about the end of a relationship. You can write the record off as harmless pop, but I’d have to disagree. This is about as good as pop can get.

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