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Dancer VIP: Judith Jamison – Alvin Ailey former Artistic Director

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Music Review – Lykke Li, Youth Novels

Submitted by on 30 Mar 2009 – 5:12 PM Comments

Music Review with Lykke LiIntriguing flourishes and unexpected oddities take Swedish indie singer Lykke Li’s debut, Youth Novels, from regular-‘ol-girl pop album to quirky candy charmer. Sugarcoated vocals bring a pleasant innocence to tunes about life and love, while a sometimes Feist-y rasp adds conviction and the depth of mystery. Such a combination allows her to swing effortlessly between precocious teen and informed adult on tracks like “Breaking It Up,” where a jubilant Sesame Street choir accompanies a breathy vocal performance and dark piano line. This dance hit is followed by the sultry “Time Flies,” an intimate, stark rumination where Li squeaks through her vocal in an orgasmic huff that still sounds so innocent you’d believe she’s doing some post-prom brooding at her parents’ house.

The brazen naiveté that comes across with lines like “I think I’m a little bit in love with you, but only if you’re a little bit in love me,” is carried to newly adult heights with Björn Yttling’s (of Peter Bjorn and John) hand as producer; a presence easily detected throughout the album, and most apparent on “Let It Fall,” where the beat slinks forward through a heavy stop-and-go electronic hum. The percussive choices standout as the songs move from synth dance beats to claps, clinks, and foot stomps, the steel drum of “Little Bit” cementing this notion. Most of the tracks are quite danceable, but subtly so, in that they’d work on the floor but are not so beat driven as to alienate those who are less energetic. No song gets very far before a flurry of unexpected sound bits hit your eardrum, making the album a delightful blend of Li’s raw talent and Yttling’s ace production wizardry.

Liz Levine

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