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3.8 out of 5 stars56
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Lykke Li is the latest female vocalist to be thrust into the indie market however unlike the current crop of British mockney chancers she comes from Sweden and has more in common with nineties luminaries such as One Dove or St Etienne...with perhaps a little Nouvelle Vague thrown in. Yes, Lykke is a breathy Euro chick from the pouty school of Nico. The production, by Peter Bjorn and John, is eighties inspired and I found the sound quite reminiscent of Fun Boy Three and the great Matt Johnson of The The. But, but despite that this is no classic debut, Lykke's voice struggles to support a whole album and her song are nice but nothing special, so there's a lot of filler on show; "Let it fall" includes some truly squeamish Kate Nash-ible affectations and some of the lyrics are, on occasion, cringely 6th form. I'm being a little hash though because there's a couple of cracking tracks on "Youth Novels"; the shades-by-the-pool ambience of "Melodies & Desires", the anthemetic(?) (but repetitive) "Tonight", and "Dance, Dance, Dance" which plays out like an acoustic version of U2's "Numb". If you like pop music with an indie slant (of vice versa) you will probably like this...but I doubt that you will love it.
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on 27 May 2008
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This album has an identity crisis.

"Melodies & Desires" eases the listener gently into the album with soft instrumentals and repeated lyrics more spoken than song, creating an almost meditative atmosphere. "Dance, Dance, Dance" features a jazz instrumental. "I'm good, I'm done" moves more into the realms of rock, and "Let it Fall" lightens the atmosphere once again (although I'm not sure the "I'm so happy" line sounds that convincing ...). Jump to track 9 "This Trumpet in my head" and we begin with acoustic guitar and flavours of flamenco, but track 10 has an electronic backing to the vocals. And so on... the changes keep ringing through the rest of the album.

This is a fun album - there are so many musical surprises here - although overall the feel of the album is pretty laid back and optimistic. I have found it's something I really need to listen to though, rather than have as background music!

For my tastes, there are one or two tracks that don't really work ("Breaking it up" and "Window blues"), but these are outweighed by a wealth of stronger material.

One to be owned? I'm not sure, but this album is certainly unique enough that it shouts out to be experienced.
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VINE VOICEon 1 June 2008
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
There's one track on this that stands head and shoulders above the other and it comes right at the beginning. "Dance, Dance,Dance," sounds like The Velvet Underground in the pomp; soft fuzzy guitar, angelic voice with that telling lyric that really bites "Words can never make up for what you do." Great crecesendo of horns and female vocal chorus at the end. Love it. Can't stop playing it. "I'm good, I'm gone," is a fine slice of modern Scandinavian electric-stomp, reminiscent of electronic outfits like The Knife. It's cool. Lykke Li has one of those voices that make a man fancy her without seeing what she look likes. Tracks to note are the gentle, My love," and the single,"Little Bit." Youth Novels is a very apt title for the album. These songs sound like the inner musings of a child in their fragile, delicate execution.
Downsides? It's too long. Things tail off with the naff proto-punk of "Breaking it up" and the puzzling interlude "Complaint department."
That said, Lykke Li has a voice that despite it's lack of technical proficiency enthralls you. With a bit more savvy this could have been a very good album indeed. Worth dabbling on.
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VINE VOICEon 31 May 2008
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
There'll undoubtedly be lots of puns on Lykke Li's name should she achieve anything like the success she deserves, so I thought I'd get mine in first. Anyway, on to the music.
It's a hard act to pull off, combining a minimalist ethic with a pop sensibility, but enlisting the aid of fellow Swede Björn Yttling (from Peter Bjorn & John) has paid dividends on this chamber pop debut album. The Stina Nordenstam-ish vocals combine with the sparse, (mostly) acoustic backing to enticing effect. It might be difficult to dance to, but it's undeniably a pop album.
The minimalism extends into the lyrics too: 'Complaint Department' has the gloriously infectious refrain of "If you want to complain, I'm not the Complaint Department". Silly, but undeniably a statement of truth.
You'll either love or hate it, depending on your threshold for the cuteness of Lykke's voice, but she deserves to hold a place in your heart while Madonna endlessly recycles her past to stultifyingly dull effect.
1 star off for occasional lapses into a dirge-like pace, but otherwise magnificent.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'd never heard of Lykke Li before, but I'm sure we'll all be hearing a lot more of her after word gets around about her debut album. Youth Novels is a cracker, full of bright and breezy pop songs, cleverly crafted and with a solid emphasis on intelligent and engaging lyrics. Its a great record and we'll expect even greater things from Miss Li in the future...
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Sung with a beautifully clear if slightly breathy young voice, each of these songs is pleasant, melodious and some are quite poetic. The music is mostly easy listening indie / pop which has so many influences and after reading the product & artist description above I see why there are so many influences. On first playing the CD I thought of Bjork and Madonna, but Madonna on her softer ballads rather than dance/pop, but I couldn't quite grasp who her voice sounded like - a little bit like Katie Melua, a bit like Alex Parks (BBC Fame Academy winner) and even bit of Nelly Furtado in there, and then it hit me - she has the voice of Cerys Matthews of Catatonia. There is nothing to dislike about the album and I'm sure it's one that would grow on you. This is a CD that I'm looking forward to playing many times and enjoy becoming accustomed to.

What a shame her name is Lykke Li - so like Leapy Lee who is still alive, well and gigging in Majorca !
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VINE VOICEon 26 May 2008
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
In the age of digital recording where producers seem to drown records in wave after wave of noise, 'Youth Novels' is both a reminder of how music used to sound and also of how digital recording can be used to push music to new boundaries.

This is a very modern record both musically and lyrically. We open the album with the the spoken 'Melodies and Desires'. Fantastically subdued and intriguing it sets a medidtative tone. Indeed, though things liven up slightly in 'Dance, Dance, Dance' and "I'm Good, I'm Gone', the reflective mood in maintained throughout. Another particular stand out is the last track - 'Window Blues', that to my mind is really a jazz number. Nevertheless it's an interesting addition on such a modern album.

Though this is not the kind of record that you're going to listen to again and again but rather the kind of album you'd listen to in a darkened room with a bottleof vodka, it's well worth a listen.
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VINE VOICEon 20 May 2008
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'd not tried an Lykke Li before, nor indeed had I heard of her.
But having listened through this album I would recommend you stick with it and hopefully you'll come to enjoy it as much as I have.

From the slightly quirky opening track, 'Melodies & desires', its onto a more upbeat track, 'Dance, Dance, Dance'.
From then on its an interesting variety of style and peformance. I found 'Complaint Department' slightly melancholic but a great track that for some reason I found compelling!
The final track, 'Window Blues', does not dissapoint and is a good finish.

So if you are after something different, and want an album you can listen to whilst working, or something to reflect over then give this a go.
I'll certainly try any other albums that she releases.
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on 11 May 2009
I heard this on BBC's coverage of Glastonbury last year when she did a session for Jo Whiley. Absolutely stunning album, she has a great voice and soulful melodies combining with fab lyrics. This album is a must for anyone!
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on 11 June 2008
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Very pleasant piano driven goth-pop. Reminds me of Bat For Lashes (goth singer-songwriter) but with poppier inclinations. Maybe even a slight hint of Siouxsie & The Banshees.

The production is usually described as being everything but the kitchen sink, but I think it has a lot of space in it. The piano dominates along with her quivering girly voice. There is also usually a non-pop instrument on most tracks to add extra colour (like the Rolling Stones had a tendency to do when Brian Jones was in the band).

I've listened to it about five times in the space of less than a month and I can see myself returning to it for more. Although I doubt it will stand up to repeat listens a year down the line.
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