On her 2008 debut, Swedish songstress Lykke Li proved herself a powerful, emotive, and deceptively coy lyricist, capable of making lines like “for you I keep my legs apart” sound downright romantic. No surprise then that sophomore effort Wounded Rhymes finds Li upping the emotional ante and expertly moving between sweet, lovelorn, and sexually charged modes without missing a beat. Among the highlights, mid-album crooner “Unrequited Love” is folksy, meandering, and brimming with heartache, and “Get Some” is a punchy, percussion-filled piece of dance-floor–ready empowerment. Lead track “Youth Knows No Pain” provides a stomp- and tambourine-packed jump start, while “I Follow Rivers” lends an Afro-beat–inspired electro cut to the mix, stylistically stretching Rhymes even further. Thematically, though, the album is as cohesive as it gets; this is Li at her most brutally honest, and we can’t get enough.


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