There is something playful about the sorrow of Lykke Li. In the song “Sadness Is a Blessing,” she delivers the phrase that gives her latest album its title of “Wounded Rhymes,” but in a ringing chorus she sings, “sadness is my boyfriend.” Elsewhere on the album she imbues a song like “Unrequited Love” with a pining innocence, like it’s a song from the early ’60s, and immediately follows it with the sexy drive of “Get Some,” where she’s going out on the prowl, singing, “I’m your prostitute, you’re gonna get some.” In conversation, the Swedish singer is serious about her art, but also willing to laugh at herself.
One thing that comes across on “Wounded Rhymes” is the importance of the sequence. The way that “Get Some” comes after “Unrequited Love” seems particularly natural, in the way that a person would think. How much thought do you put into this?
It is a lot of thought and work into that. I actually had to leave out songs because I couldn’t fit them into my “world.” It’s about balance. Just like cooking, you follow your instinct but at some point you’ve got to ease off the salt.
Your song, “I Follow Rivers,” appeared in a “Glee” episode. Did you ever think something so mainstream for being all about happiness would celebrate a song from an album like “Wounded Rhymes”?
There is no business like show business, and sometimes even a melancholic person like me has to have a laugh and collect some stamps for the books. “Glee” is so far away from me as a person and artist, so it was more about me seeing the humor in some huge American show singing my song about a really destructive love. With that said, I haven’t actually ever watched the show and don’t know much about it except that my gay friends love it.
We had spoken before about how you met David Lynch and he was familiar with your work. Who else that was an influence on you would you want to admire your songs?
Well, if Ingmar Bergman came to life and liked me, that would just be lovely and fantastic. Actually, some fortune-teller … told me he is my guardian angel, so I’m probably all set!
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