“so sad so sexy” is the fourth studio album by Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li, out now on RCA/LL.
Swedish stalwart Lykke Li released her debut album 10 years ago, since then her alternative landscapes have developed into some of the decades most appreciated music. The slightly elusive performer is able to mix vulnerability with vivaciousness to instil a sense of genuine human connection that people the world over tap into for release and affirmation. “so sad so sexy” is her fourth record, and one that ushers in a more experimental slant on her tried and tested tender efforts.
“hard rain” seemingly links together the Lykke Li of the past with the Lykke Li of the future. The robotic-like glitches throughout are a subtle nod to moving forwards, a progression that is never forced or taken to the extreme. The stop-start juxtaposition provides a contrast to Li‘s eternally dreamy vocal, which has been missed by so many in the gap between records.
There is a definitive hip-hop slant taken on “deep end“, from the obvious drum patterns to the slightly less forthright vocal delivery. It’s a remarkable departure to new lands for Lykke Li, but one that proves to be a fruitful expedition. There is a bravado on display here that Li has rarely shown on previous tracks, but one that is still entirely in-keeping with her aesthetic.
“sex money feelings die” might be one of the most relatable song titles of recent times. Lykke Li is as fed up of fading feelings as the next person but; rather than wallowing, Li instead shrugs off the inevitable. It’s tracks like this that further highlight her ability to innovate rather than become complacent. That is until we get to titular track “so sad so sexy”, which is the most sombre moment thus far. It’s a well-timed blast from the past, giving older fans a subtle nod to the Lykke Li they fell in love with. It is both incredibly sad and sexy all at once, the melancholy made alluring that it’s hard to know whether it should make you tearful or tantric.
Lykke Li has crafted her least Lykke Li-like record to date, whilst at the same time creating something that is a perfect example of her artistry. It’s a contradiction that put simply; just works, hitting the mark with every individual song as well as on the whole. There will be purists who complain it’s not sad enough to be a Lykke Li record, not dark enough – but the new found light shines too brightly to overlook. This is a forward-thinking artist who by expanding her emotional horizons has created her most nuanced release to date.