Track of the Day: 'Youth Knows No Pain'

By Brendan Hasenstab

Past TracksStockholm's Lykke Li has just released her second album, and if you happened to like her debut, Youth Novels, you are in for quite a surprise. And for those who have never heard of her, let me say, you're in for a treat.

Before unpacking those statements, let me note I couldn't deal with her debut; too cutesy, and too girly, to the point of overload. Maybe that makes me a curmudgeon, but so be it.

Anyway, here we are three years later, and when I first heard this track from the new album, Wounded Rhymes, I literally didn't recognize the artist. Vocals, and the general mood, are both down an octave or more. She's just about to turn 25, and clearly the journey from 22 hasn't necessary been a smooth one. Despite professional success, I've read that Li endured a tough breakup, and spent a fair amount of time in the California desert on her own while writing these songs.

This particular cut opens the album, and while the musical tone isn't quite as foreboding as songs from The Knife, it's not a world away. Lyrically, the song reads like a letter to her younger self, calling herself out for thinking she knew what real pain was, back in those days. (Amen, sister!) Bracing stuff, and not one molecule of twee.

See web-only content:
http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/04/track-of-the-day-youth-knows-no-pain/73397/ Youth Knows No Pain by LykkeLi

On iTunes: Lykke Li / "Youth Knows No Pain"

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This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/04/track-of-the-day-youth-knows-no-pain/73397/