Lykke Li, "Wounded Rhymes"
Lykke Li's 2008 debut, "Youth Novels," was a strikingly intimate album filled with deceptively simple melodies and what sounded like shy confessions. Its seeming unassumingness is one of the set's charms, but the world noticed her quickly. During the past couple of years she's performed, recorded or done remixes with Kanye West, Drake, Q-Tip and even Kings of Leon. Thankfully, none of the above is in evidence on her second album, but it's a sea change nonetheless. Much more aggressive and less introspective than "Youth Novels," the fittingly titled "Wounded Rhymes" features a diverse array of songs. Sonically it's a super-charged take on the girl-group sound, with thundering drums, multilayered vocals, heart-wrenching lyrics and loads of echo-all of which contrasts with her honeyed voice. The album's first single is the startlingly aggressive "Get Some," which features the controversial "I'm your prostitute" line. Other highlights include woozy opener "Youth Knows No Pain"; "Love Out of Lust," a lovely ballad with a gently cascading chorus; and best of all the Phil Spector-riffic "Sadness Is a Blessing," the chorus of which finds Li joyously singing "Sadness is my boyfriend" over soaring chord changes.