Listening to Lykke Li is a little like listening to an ice fairy, sitting on a frozen leaf with a keyboard.
And in the "I'm Good I'm Gone" single, she sounds like an ice fairy with an attitude and a stompy piano. The catchy, distorted single from her debut album "Youth Novels" is paired with a flashier, more techno-flavoured, dark-edged dance demo that isn't quite as endearing as the title track, but still a bit hypnotic in its presentation.
"Walking in the corner/Peeking over shoulders/Waiting for my time to come," Lykke Li's distorted voice intones, as handclaps and ominous piano pick up. Think of it as noir pop. It peps up a little when she switches to her softer, girlish vocals, with the piano rippling like a stream under her twinkly chorus. "And if you say I'm not OK, we must go/If you say there ain't no way that I could know/If you say I aim too high from down below/Well, say you're not 'cause when I'm gone/You'll be callin' but I won't be at the phone..."
It's a really deliciously catchy little tune, especially once it moves past the darker opening. One can really see why it was chosen as the lead single of "Youth Novels," but I have to admit that "I Don't Mind (Jump On It)" isn't quite as alluring. The distortion and dark-dance sound are still here, with spurts of dramatic, rather cheesy synth flashing up every few seconds. I kept expecting to see half-nude dancers striking poses. Fortunately it becomes somewhat less cheesy as the song winds on, with lots of eerie vocals and winding twisted keyboard melodies.
The "I'm Good, I'm Gone" single doesn't show the extent of what Lykke Li can do, but it is a pretty good illustration of the poppier material that she can produce. While her electro-pop is not groundbreaking, it is catchy, prettily delicate work with some really exceptional instrumentation.
That instrumentation is usually led by some solid plunky piano, sharp drums, handclaps and a heavy dose of warped synth -- although those cheesy flashes were just wrong. The details bring the music alive -- twinkling xylophone, a subtle ripple of piano, and wisps of lighter, softer synth keep the music from being just another dance song.
Li has a very pretty voice as well -- sweet, girlish and high in pitch, even in the single's more jaded moments ("And I'm hanging around 'till it's all done/You can't keep me back once I had some"). You only get to hear her REAL voice half the time, though -- the other half is deepened and distorted, or filtered through a computer to make her sound like a ghostly robot.
"I'm Good I'm Gone" is an excellent pop song attached to a somewhat cheesy demo, but it's still worth hearing. Lykke Li's poppy side is here, and now it's time for the full-length album.