Saturday, July 19, 2008

Scandinavian Spunk

My musical addiction of the moment is Lykke Li. She's Swedish. (Naturally!)

I heard "Little Bit" a couple of months ago and picked up her EP right away. It only has four songs, and all are good. But I wanted more right away. Quite bummed to learn that her debut album, Youth Novels, wouldn't be released in the States until August 19. But I managed to snag an import copy last week. (Woohoo!)

Fantastic album. Not a single clunker in the mix. One of those rare albums I can listen to from beginning to end.
Bjorn (of Peter Bjorn and John) Yttling's production surely has much to do with that. As do Lykke's very cute inflections -- like "awl" instead of "all." So, the album's been on non-stop rotation on my iPod.

She's reminiscent of Kate Bush one moment and Kylie Minogue the next, but derivative of neither at any moment. Haunting, spoken-word verses scattered among bouncy, it's-hard-to-stay-still numbers. All grown up here, not a care in the world there. (She's all of 22.)

The buzz surrounding Lykke online seems to have reached a fevered pitch. But my suspicion is that she won't catch on stateside. I say that with the histories of folks like Kate Nash and The Ting Tings in mind. Both attained rapid success in Europe, became the focus of many a blog post in the U.S. as a result, and then made the slightest of splashes when their albums finally arrived on U.S. shores. I'll try my best to withhold any value judgments, but I think it's fair to say that there's a discernable difference between the European aesthetic and that of Americans. (After all, the Swedes came up with H&M. And the Americans came up with Abercrombie & Fitch. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.)

Oh man! While putting this together, I found a clip for an acoustic, in-studio performance of "I'm Good, I'm Gone."

There are a couple of members of Shout Out Louds playing with her! (And the blonde with the crazy hair is apparently Robyn -- the rare Swedish export in whom I have no interest.)

Yup. I think I can officially bestow the title of "Coolest People in the World" upon the Swedes. (Random tidbit, but any society progressive enough to give moms and dads a year off from work after the birth of a child deserves recognition. As does any society that takes in many times more Iraqi refugees than the U.S. Shouldn't the country responsible for the invasion take on a bigger burden? Ah, but I digress ...)