A symphony of musical paradox

-By Palesa Kgasane

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There is nothing as refreshing as Swedish born artist who has soul like Etta James and the swagger of a daring tigress with a vocal angelic poignancy.Lykke Li?s second album is a cut above the rest and is one of the best of 2011. Wounded Rhymes is the second album from Li which has fused elements of indie rock, folk, alternative and subtle hints of electro-pop sounds solidifying a well-produced album (produced by Bj??rn Yttling of Peter Bjorn and John fame) released 2 March by LL Recordings. She has previously done a sample of a song originally by successful American rapper Drake and collaborated with fellow European Robyn as well as Bon Iver and Kanye West.

Her song Possibility on the Twilight soundtrack is what shot her into the mainstream in 2009. What makes this album different to her first album is that it explores her darker side capturing lost love and the torment of youthful romances showing her maturity as a woman, in style and as an artist. The songs are arranged in a way that brings about absolute nonchalance but a yearning to go out and scream on top of a mountain.

Booming, tribal-like drums, powerful ballads, and whispery, sultry, soulful vocals characterize the majority of the album. I Follow Rivers (released as a single), I know places, Silent My Song and Jerome are definite stand-outs in their melancholy nature allowing the listener to create visual pictures of faraway lands and somewhat twisted fairytales. It is the risqu?? nature of songs like ?Get Some? that gives the album its titillating edge and chutzpah. Lykke Li also shot the film Solarium with director Moses Berkson while in the desert to accompany the songs on the album. ?You see pain like it is pleasure, like it is a work of art?, Said Li about the process of creating the album and the imagery on the CD and videos. Her image is unique and her music style has similar elements to that of artists like Sia, The XX and a 90?s Nelly Furtado.

Although Wounded Rhymes is mostly dark and conflicted, it is a quirky yet moving take on the Indie genre. The entire album is a hauntingly magical artwork which can serve as an escape and confrontation of our everyday realities. Sullen, soulful, beautiful ? it is a must have.

For life is like a flame… don?t be afraid to dance– from the song Love and Lust by Lykke Li

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