Release Date: Jun 8, 2018
Record label: RCA
Four years after the release of I Never Learn, Swedish singer/songwriter Lykke Li returned with another, more effective set of heartbreakers on so sad so sexy. Her first effort without longtime collaborator Björn Yttling, so sad so sexy dips a toe into dark, atmospheric synth-forward pop, like a blend between the most morose of Lorde and Tove Lo's output. Executive produced by Li and Malay, the album also features work by Rostam Batmanglij, Jeff Bhasker, Emile Haynie, and T-Minus, whose combined work for Kanye West, the Weeknd, Frank Ocean, and Lana Del Rey can be felt throughout the ten-song collection.
The Swedish indie-pop star adds colour and definition to her widescreen melancholia with this lush, R&B-influenced fourth album The official party line is that Lykke Li has attempted to capture the R&B-tinged sad-pop zeitgeist (think Lorde, think Sampha) on her fourth album 'So Sad So Sexy'. However, having honed her slick and sultry Nordic noir for over a decade - breaking hearts before The Weeknd and Lana Del Rey had even brushed the airwaves - you could argue that Lykke Li was the OG sad-pop millennial. It was the stark but accomplished dream-pop of 2008 debut 'Youth Novels' made her an immediate international art-pop sensation, while the ambitious follow-up 'Wounded Rhymes' added a touch more bombast to her tightrope-strut between devastating and danceable.
To download, click "Share" and right-click the download icon | iTunes | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS The Lowdown: Lykke Li's fourth record, so sad so sexy, uses an electronic, trap-influenced foundation to convey sentiments such as the pain of heartbreak, the peculiar sensualism that arises from it, and the agonizing cycle of conflicted love. Synth-pop is new terrain for Li, and most artists experimenting with electronics for the first time often create a jumbled mess of clichés, but her first venture into the synthscape is largely successful. The Good: The album opens with one of its strongest tracks, "Hard Rain.
Every track on Lykke Li's last album, I Never Learn, was a torch song of generous proportions, a thorough sweeping-up of the singer's shattered heart with reflectively grand production. On so sad so sexy, she immediately extinguishes the flame. "If you like the feeling of a hard rain falling," she lilts on the opening track in a delicate, descending staccato, "I have a seaful/I can give you an ocean." Hope springs anew in this refurbished world, but it is not warm; Li's light voice is pitch-shifted into metallic strips on the song, braided into frosty harmonies over a cybernetic trap-pop beat produced by Rostam.
Lykke Li has inhabited an evolving musical persona since debut album 'Youth Novels' was released a decade ago. Now building on the raw vulnerability displayed on 2014's 'I Never Learn', 'so sad so sexy' sees Lykke emerging again from a cloud of heartbreak, but this time it's a more pop-oriented, highly produced one. On the Swedish singer-songwriter’s fourth full-length album, it's obvious she's aimed to push the scope of her sound.
so sad so sexy follows a loose redemption narrative: struggling through a destructive relationship to the other side, learning some uncomfortable truths on the way. The song titles are styled in the all-lower-case trademark of sad girls on the internet, for whom Li - who once declared that "sadness is my boyfriend" - could act as a kind of foremother. As signposted by the pre-release singles "hard rain" and "deep end", the album is Li's take on current pop/R&B trends, characterised by skittering beats, bass drops, and percussive vocals, and presided over by nine producers - including Skrillex , Rostam Batmanglij , and Drake/The Weeknd collaborator T-Minus.
Praise be! Lykke Li is back! We start So Sad So Sexy, with promise. Opening bars drive forth a synthesised tone, over which operatic vocals are sewn. Li opens the floodgates, invites us to sail our sea-boat. "If you like the feeling of the hard rain falling, I have a sea full I can give you an ocean." We miss her, of course, so we throw up our sails, draw in our anchor and we're ready to speed.
More melodramatic than melancholic, Lykke Li's fourth album, So Sad So Sexy, continues her thematic focus on heartache, albeit through a more generic, impersonal lens. In the four years since the release of her gloomy breakup album I Never Learn, the Swedish singer-songwriter has mourned the death of her mother and celebrated the birth of a son, but Li's emotive spectrum here exists solely within the confines of turbulent romantic relationships, painting corresponding moments of outsized anxiety, desperation, and fleeting optimism in overly broad strokes. Li eschews the mixture of lush orchestral arrangements and acoustic ballads found throughout I Never Learn and 2011's Wounded Rhymes and instead delves into more synth-pop, hip-hop, and R&B influences.
For the last decade, Lykke Li has been a pop outlier, singing songs that were too quirky for U.S. radio but catchy enough for under-the-radar success. But on her fourth LP, So Sad So Sexy, she embraces slickly produced pop with open arms, and she's lost some of her character. Where her early songs sported herky-jerky, danceable rhythms and her heavily Swedish accented vocals and her more recent music sounded like Bic-ready torch songs, much of So Sad So Sexy relies on American-accented trap beats and blink-and-you'll-miss-it melodies, à la Lorde.
It's been four years since Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson released her last album, 'I Never Learn'. Since then, the Scandinavian singer has relocated to Los Angeles and had a child with American pop writer and producer extraordinaire Jeff Bhasker. The result? A record that still has the dark, subtle and subdued pain of 'I Never Learn', except now it's fit for the dancefloor.
Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson, otherwise known to the world as Lykke Li, never shied away from presenting herself explicitly, flaws and all. The way in which she presents herself, however, never quite felt the same. At times she sounds soft and mischievous (“Complaint Department”) at others desolate and defeated (“Never Gonna Love Again”).