Single Review: Lykke Li – No Rest for the Wicked

By on Wednesday, 2nd April 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

Swedish chanteuse Lykke Li has dropped the first proper single ‘No Rest for the Wicked’ from her coming album ‘I Never Learn’ for our waiting ears in advance of the album next month. Lykke has been away for over 3 years crafting her next work -and acting in a Swedish crime thriller! – having also spent quite a bit of time with iconic American director David Lynch. It would be easy to think that this off-beat filmmaker has had a significant influence on Li if you were listening as a neophyte. But truth be told, she’s always possessed an unnerving, otherworldly quality so the influence likely flowing in both directions.

Opening with smartly struck keys on the far right side of the keyboard, this simple theme returns at each valley of the song. Not breaking from the familiar haunting, slightly nasal sound from her past songs, she presents a tune that undulates from plaintive soul-bearing to crashing self-loathing. The pain of destroying a good love comes through with a swelling intensity as the lyrics build and recede, yet always pulling back into the simple beaten out piano melody, retreating to where it is safe and alone. The message is of simple pain and regret. Barely asking for redemption, the song has a simple acknowledgment of failure as the pain billows with the music’s crescendo and then abates into nothingness at the end.

The song becomes clearer on repeated listens, but it also becomes simpler. Initially, the crashing cymbals of the chorus obscured Li’s voice for me, but as it repeated, it settled into a nice little verse chorus verse structure. There is nothing wrong with that formula, nothing at all. But with an artist that has the experimental Swedish roots that she does, we can hope for a little more from the full length coming later.

7.5/10

‘No Rest for the Wicked’, Lykke Li’s forthcoming single, is out on the 21st of April on Atlantic Records. ‘I Never Learn’, the Swede’s third album, follows on the 5th of May.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZ9OJk9i4Kg[/youtube]

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