Monday, October 31, 2011

Is Lykke Li the Swedish Erykah Badu?

What's the real difference between Lykke Li and Erykah Badu?

On the surface a TAN couldn't marry two more different artists: black, white. badu's fro to lykke's.... anti-fro. neo-soul and neo-swedish pop don't often spin at the same parties (though certainly now more than ever). But I think they're good examples of two artists who if thin-slicing on skin, hair, music aethetic reflect different worlds, but the heart of their music makes my heart skip a beat in the same way (aww). The artists, and I imagine their fans, live in different worlds but are likely kindred spirits.

Couple posts ago I went in on Erykah Badu. America's B-Boy Queen. No one else like her. GQ agrees

This interview with The Vine has Lykke Li panting (just a little bit) at the end of a long tour. Very woe-is-me Artist Lament: my skin feels like stale crackers, agghh! the world sounds like my ears are clogged with truffle oil, grrm! (my translation). And the clichĂ© of it all is funny, but it made me aware of my soft spot for these us sensitive flower types.

And so, possibly only for the convenience of this post, but I boiled down the components of her otherworldly presence in the Badu Guide to Live Dopeness as: her hip hop, her beauty, her 'individual quirky flair', her 'weird sexy non-sex thing', and ultimately all of that supports her just being an undeniably talented singer and songwriter.

And checking on some Lykke clips ? here we have a female soul artist who

covers a milli?

has a face that can hold down a video by itself

a personality with that little splash of irreverence, this bathroom joint for example:

which is like the b-side to the legendary black cab sessions single (hold your head):

(btw, who's jumping the bathroom freestyle/beatbox off asap?)

but yo... for both badu and lykke, you know they can sort of drop whatever diva-swag thing they might be doing and just flip it on the streets. no cab or nothing:

and of course at this point i shouldn't even include the "can i kick it?" cover, lest we combust, but combust we must...

really i'm I'm mostly posting this as a reference for my trip to sweden. no hablo ingles. i only speak lykke.

and those clips were from the first tour. and her second album has held serve...

ok... (also a myspace blog is the new artist integrity)

it's a leap. it's a lark. but with lykke li and badu can it be I <3 them for the same reasons? Can it be so simple?

I do know these cryptic self-help sirens need their own category or genre. they're not pin-ups like a rihanna or beyoncĂ©. they're warmer. that's the 'weird sexy non-sexy' thing  (maybe maternal without the mommy? but let's not get in my issues...)

So I don't know maybe now we wish for a Watch The Throne-style project? Dilla-esque music and Lykke w/ Erykah might be sick. or a live show Badu-Li from Sweden? in any event, you heard it here first.


  1. I heard she likes cupcakes. guess that's everyone

  2. bak away from the utube, son

    Drake's more Lykke Li than Badu is.

  3. a) i really try to not write this to you, mostly because i think you probably say it to yourself 20 times in the mirror every morning, a la jessica

    but seriously? this right here is genius. truly. brilliant comparison, and you can FEEL that immediately, but, like, you actually articulated it. sorry, i'm kind of in awe.

    b) ok, over the awe. anyway, introduced this hot guy to lykke li the other day. we were watching her black cab session and i was commenting that i wanted to be like her, her seeming lack of self-consciousness while being entirely self-conscious, how she's not crafting her behavior to make it sexy, how sexy that is. and he was like, yeah. she's european.

    not sure that's totally off-base. seems like part of what's unique and incredible about badu is that she emerged from our (sexually AND in some ways musically repressed, gender-essentialist) american landscape (dallas, texas, to be exact). not only that, but from the purported margins of that landscape, where the temptation to not further marginalize must have been great. or does marginalization afford a person more of an ability to shirk typical constraints of one kind or another.

    c) what you call their "weird sexy non-sex thing" may in fact just be a sex thing but not a straight sex thing. i'd argue.

  4. does everything boil down to black/white, man/woman, european/american? and maybe burgers/chicken tenders. this is possibly correct.

    normal sexy is a good-point. i'm desensitized from what we consider normal. it's like being at war. going to a magazine rack is like opening scene of saving private ryan. after the torrent of boob bullets, a woman simply saying i love you with conviction is non-sex sexy. ha. (feel like I should add: once more unto the breach! ...or something)

  5. It's hard for me to imagine you'd be able to deal with women so complicated in real life.

    I think the thing you're describing is a, for lack of a better word, 'true artist' thing. Being drawn to that again and again suggests you want to be that.

    You have a sort of supposed-lesbian contradictory impulse here, it sounds like: Do you want to be Erlykkeh or do you want to fuck her?

  6. Anonymous11/05/2011

    Lykke Li is a lot "softer" than Erykah Badu. I agree Badu is earthy, spiritual, but she's no delicate little flower. It might be just cause she's younger, but Lykke Li seems a bit more fragile.


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