Li mixes bluesy tunes with splash of ‘choo-wop, choo wop’

By Margaret Brinson

After three long years, emerging Swedish indie-pop artist Lykke Li released her second album — accurately dubbed “Wounded Rhymes” for its bluesy, wailing lyrics of lost love — in February, with the extended deluxe edition made available on iTunes in March.

With a backbeat and vocals reminiscent of early 1960s chart-topping pop pieces, Li has coined not only her signature off-the-wall sound, but also the token, irresistible urge to jump up and do the twist that her tunes tend to inspire. One track, “Unrequited Love,” even features back-up singers who “Choo-wop, choo-wop” woefully beneath her broken-hearted blues.

Li may just be the next indie it-girl. Having released her first CD in 2008, she is a relative newcomer on the music scene, yet big-name buy-ins have already boosted her climb up the charts. One of her earliest singles “Little Bit” was picked up by hipster retail giant Urban Outfitters and distributed on its website in a free downloadable playlists. Then in 2009, Li collaborated with the makers of one of the largest blockbusters of the year, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” and the resulting single, “Possibility,” was featured on the soundtrack. Now she is back on the scene with a new album chalk-full of artistic precision and cutting-edge content.

While the sound of “Wounded Rhymes” does not differ drastically from Li’s debut album, “Youth Novels,” it is distinct. Where “Youth Novels” stayed on the slow, sensual and modern side, “Wounded Rhymes” was on a different spectrum with its vintage vocals and clapped rhythms. And do not let the title be deceiving, “Wounded Rhymes” is not all gloom and doom. Tracks such as “I Follow Rivers,” “Get Some,” “Rich Kids Blues” and “Youth Knows No Pain” keep the mood light with rocking lyrics and beats made for dancing.

For fans of: Camera Obscura, Feist, Metric, She & Him, Amy Whinehouse.

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