After her critically acclaimed third studio album ‘I Never Learn’ (released in 2014), Li returns with her fourth album filled with synths, sadness tinged RnB and more. The Swedish singer-songwriter presents a ‘re-invented’ version of herself musically, in an album that is smoulderingly heartbreaking that its ‘So Sad’ but ‘So Sexy’ (as the album title suggests).
At first glance, Li’s latest album is comparatively different (in terms of her experimentation with musical genres) from her previous offerings. Sticking to her own unique formula of heartbreak, love and solitude, ‘So Sad, So Sexy’ follows in a similar suite. However, is projected by a variety of musical instrumentations and synth-infused beats. In others, words ‘So Sad, So Sexy’ is Li’s most radio-ready album yet with a majority of tracks having the appeal of mainstream radio RnB.
On her opening track, ‘Hard Rain’ Li Laments:
“If you like the feeling of a hard rain falling
I have a seafull, I can give you an ocean
If you like the feeling of a hard rain falling
I have a sea-full, I can give you an ocean”.
With her eery and hauntingly raw vocals, Li transcends us to a psychedelic place as she compares hard rain to a lovers plight with love. It is the perfect opener for Li to remind us why she is one of Swedens most critically acclaimed Rnb/Synth Pop infused singers.
Whilst on the albums last track and featured third single titled ‘Utopia’, Li strips back effortlessly as she lets us in on her most personal song yet. Where she describes a love brighter than a comet and full of promise, singing:
“we could be utopia utopia, you and me….”
With minimal use of instrumentation, we are taken back to Li’s former style on her first album which is quite nostalgic as it is refreshing.
Overall ‘So Sad, So Sexy’ is a beautiful piece of poignant poetry woven into musical magic by the master puppeteer herself. In her most reflective album yet, Li shows us her own professional growth and rise as a person. With themes such as love, sex and despair, ‘So Sad, So Sexy’ is Li’s own response to the ups and downs of a relationship between two individuals.
One drawback of the album is the format as some of Li’s themes (from her previous albums) are repeated in her latest body of work. However, with her new found experimentation with different genres and her effortless soprano vocals, it’s hard to fault Li’s new album too much considering its a diamond in the rough. Further boosted by stand out tracks such as ‘Bad Woman’, So Sad, So Sexy and ‘Last Piece’ where we see Li in her most vulnerable state as an artist starting her own re-invention.
Lykke Li ‘So Sad, So Sexy’ is available now via RCA Records