Words always seem to be so easily dispensable for some reason or another. Often, they seem to be obligatory and, from time to time, they’re frantic. And sometimes, people use them in the daintiest of ways so that when the right person connects them with an aesthetic wonder like music, the impact always seems to be that much more substantial. For just-recently-turned-25-year-old Lykke Li, her latest album is a celebrated work of art for the best of reasons. She’s taken an honest approach to music and has documented a deep collection of singular stories to share in an excellent version of songwriting with Wounded Rhymes. All of her words seem to be vitally important to all of her life stories, and the sounds supporting that venture are anything but dispensable.
Her prior album, Youth Novels, was a decorated release that elevated Li onto what seemed like a promised path. I think it would be safe to say that while her latest release was noticed with excited anticipation, not many expected it to be quite this good. Maybe that was just foolishly me, but it’s more due to the fact that Wounded Rhymes is a gorgeous album – there is always something more to love about it with each listen – than anything else.
Lyrically, Li’s covering the entire spectrum of love with stories that showcase the embattled aspects that intertwine our sordid struggles, and displays them in such a caring, fashionable way. On “Get Some,” she seems to be madly in love, declaring her passion and body to her lover ; this was after “Unrequited Love”’s lonely guitar digressed Li’s sad words about “Oh the shame, the crying game.” Her words always gently affect the song’s pace with a subtle softness and, sincerely strung along, the ultimate delivery is a skillful one. Wounded Rhymes’ title is exactly as it depicts and Li is earnestly honest in her convictions; she is just in her mid-20s after all. The album’s swelling closer, “Silent My Song,” stuns with a stomping drive and Li’s amazing songwriting as she sings, “Like a work of art: when I’m your painting, I’m your treasure.”
And, while a lot can be made about Li’s tremendously personal words, the sounds that she’s collected on Wounded Rhymes are a diverse and vast assortment. “I Know Places” begins with a chilling acoustic guitar and Li’s fragile voice; the strong tone of her vocals lends the songs a poignant touch. The remarkable way that “I Follow Rivers” glistens with stellar synths and soaring drums is definitely mesmerizing in itself – driving stomps, booming hits, timely claps – before you realize that Li’s singing about getting lost, so lost, that she’ll follow him anywhere: “deep sea baby.” It’s a fitting setting to notice that while she channels Stevie Nicks and Kate Bush in exceptional structure, there’s a stunning uniqueness to Li’s music that simply beckons attention.
It’s not to say that there is a collected group of people that seek out the betterment of word usage or diction but in a day and age where lines like ‘lol, u r cool’ are the social norm, it’s refreshing to dig into Li’s Wounded Rhymes. An outstanding display of pure songwriting at its finest, Li is in top, top form. It’s absolutely amazing for various – and anything but dispensable – amount of reasons, including the fact that she is, again, just 25 years old but overall, Wounded Rhymes is a marvelous album in top, top form.