Youth Novels, the first full-length album by Scandi-pop artist Lykee Li, was released earlier this year in the Nordic region and during the summer in Europe, but it's just now making waves in the States. I predict she'll be a big wave rider with her breathy voice that is always spot on (whether recorded or live). Lykke doesn't need a lot of production - or even a full-time band - because her voice carries every song. She has one of the finest female voices I've ever heard, and lucky for us she doesn't lend it to pop tricks as much as she lends it to varied and experimental songs.
The album employs; synths, strings, Theremins, horns, and on one song I swear a toy piano is in effect. A few songs ("I'm Good, I'm Gone" and "Breaking It Up") have hand claps â€“ and only handclaps â€“ as the rhythm section. On a few songs Lykke gets experimental and dark ("Melodies & Desires" is reminiscent of Bjork's Vespertine), but for the most part she sticks with infectious pop. One of the best examples of this is "Little Bit". In the song she manages to capture the sweetness and sexiness of falling in love; not an easy task for a modern songwriter - I'm sure we can all agree that "you broke my heart" songs are the commonplace. Confessing to being "a little bit in love" with someone while also singing "And for you I keep my legs apart / And forget about my tainted heart" is the type of pop music we need in our ears.
Youth Novels was released on Lykke's own label and its being promoted by Atlantic for it's pop appeal, but this chanteuse also delivers songs on the album that have a healthy does of skepticism. "Everybody But Me", for example, describes a night (like we've all had) where we feel out of sorts, sober, and skeptical of everything and everyone around us. The beginning of the album is all pop and highly danceable, and then she ends it with soothing songs as if she wants to be your cool down after a bedroom dancing session.