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Lykke Li's Two New Songs Dance At The Edges Of Pop Music

Lykke Li's <em>so sad so sexy</em> comes out June 8.
Lykke Li's <em>so sad so sexy</em> comes out June 8.

Lykke Li has always found her own path through pop music. She is and isn't a part of that landscape, instead dancing along its edges where the grass grows wild. There was her whimsical, indie-electro debut from a decade ago, Youth Novel, the wide-ranging but altogether rollicking Wounded Rhymes, and 2014's I Never Learn, which closed a conceptual trilogy, with anthemic production very much of its time, yet intimately reined in by Li's voice.

In June, the Swedish artist will release so sad so sexy, and after listening to its first two singles, it's clear Li has absorbed pop's recent obsessions with the kind of care that comes from deep listening. "Hard Rain" finds her in lonely-in-the-woods-with-AutoTune mode, something James Blake or Bon Iver might make with a fire roaring somewhere nearby. Instead of loudly announcing her newfound love for trap music with bombast (as is often a pop singer's wont), "Deep End" employs the triple-time subdivided beat with a dreamy sheen, simmering in its nodding rhythm — plus, it's such a delight to hear Lykke Li sing, "Bae, you burned me / Your kiss is salty chlorine."

so sad so sexy comes out June 8 viaRCA Records.

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