EYEYE by Lykke Li Album review by Sam Franzini for Northern Transmissions

PIAS Recordings

7.5

Lykke Li

EYEYE

Lykke Li’s newest album, “EYEYE,” is only eight songs long, but its dreaminess and atmosphere linger long after the last song plays. Diverting from the trap/pop influences of her 2018 effort, “so sad so sexy,” this album relies mostly on moods and feelings to get its point across, its songs often feeling liminal but never untethered. “I feel so alone / Do you not feel?” she asks on “YOU DON’T GO AWAY,” barely whispering. “Get high, but it won’t last, I’m still alone,” she admits on the next track, “HIGHWAY TO YOUR HEART.” There’s a definite feeling of loneliness here, but it only dips into devastation on the sparse opener, “NO HOTEL.”

Some songs like “HAPPY HURTS” and “5D” are decidedly sad, but lush production choices prevent them from dragging. On the devastatingly simple “HAPPY HURTS,” she alludes to someone cheating, saying, “I loved you like she couldn’t / She’s passing by,” and on the chorus says, “drive back to her.”

“5D” is told in the course of a relationship, with the narrator feeling like they’re not being given the full weight of love. “Is it only in the movies you love me in 5D? Is it only in the movies, on my screen, in my dreams?” she asks over lilting, moving instrumentals. Combined with the odd, deeper beats during the verses, the chorus feels like one of the lightest parts on the album, despite containing some of its saddest lines. “Now I’m in my bed, I feel the weight / Are we ever gonna levitate?” she asks, despite knowing the answer.

On the propulsive and swaying “OVER,” Li tackles the confusion one faces with a relationship. “Don’t wanna be sober, now that it’s over,” she begins, but moments later on the bridge, she admits she’s still mentally with her partner “(I don’t want it to fade, I don’t want it to fade / Still in your arms, yeah, I’m still in your arms,” a call-back to the opening track). On the chorus, Li’s voice follows behind her like a whistling echo as she sings, “I don’t need you / I don’t want love.”

The closer, “ü&i,” is vague and uses vocal chops in the chorus to create a discombobulating experience. Juxtaposed immediately with rainforest sounds and light piano, the song may not be fully realized, but is still interesting to listen to. “The movie is you and I,” she repeats, referencing the false promise of the silver screen “5D” offered. The song, and album, ends with a pretty but not wholly additive twinkling two-minute outro, leaving the listener with sounds of a forest and mechanical beeps to wonder about. “CAROUSEL” ends similarly — it reads a bit more like an interlude, despite a mystical second half.

These songs often feel like the soundtracks to other worlds — wholly immersive and with only a few moments where the illusion is broken. With simple yet elegant writing, Li connects songs together with simple strings and transforms malaise into a realized experience.

Pre-order EYEYE by Lykke Li HERE