Youth Novels

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Youth Novels
Lykke Li - Youth Novels.png
Studio album by Lykke Li
Released 30 January 2008 (2008-01-30)
Recorded Atlantis Studio, Decibel Studios, Högalid Studio
(Stockholm, Sweden)
Genre
Length 44:49
Label LL
Producer
Lykke Li chronology
Youth Novels
(2008)
Wounded Rhymes
(2011)
Singles from Youth Novels
  1. "Little Bit"
    Released: 24 September 2007
  2. "I'm Good, I'm Gone"
    Released: 14 January 2008
  3. "Breaking It Up"
    Released: 5 May 2008
  4. "Tonight"
    Released: 18 August 2008

Youth Novels is the debut studio album by Swedish singer and songwriter Lykke Li. It was released on 30 January 2008 on her own label, the EMI-distributed LL Recordings. The album was entirely produced by Björn Yttling of Swedish indie pop band Peter Bjorn and John and co-produced by Lasse Mårtén. Youth Novels spawned four singles: "Little Bit", "I'm Good, I'm Gone", "Breaking It Up" and "Tonight".

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 75/100[4]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[5]
The A.V. Club B[6]
Drowned in Sound 8/10[7]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[8]
NME 8/10[9]
Pitchfork 7.8/10[10]
PopMatters 7/10 stars[11]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[12]
Spin 7/10[13]
The Times 4/5 stars[14]

Youth Novels received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 75, based on 27 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[4] Alex Denney of Drowned in Sound praised the album as "a twinkle-toed debut that dares to suggest what others can only make tediously plain, and leaves us in the rarely-enjoyed position of actually wanting more."[7] PopMatters's Adrien Begrand called it "extraordinary" and described it as "a surprisingly stark-sounding album, an enticing blend of Robyn's unpretentious dance-pop and El Perro del Mar's introspection and tenderness."[11] The Times critic Tom Gatti noted that Yttling gave Youth Novels the same treatment as to Peter Bjorn and John's song "Young Folks", stating that he "[weaves] Lykke Li's girlish, wistful songs of young love and loss into bright pocket symphonies."[14]

In a review for The A.V. Club, Vadim Rizov characterised Youth Novels as "all teasing and heartbreak, with production [...] that plays on empty spaces as much as well-chosen backing", commending Li for "adeptly [straddling] the line between instant gratification and minimalist smarts."[6] Killian Fox of The Observer commented that "[t]he coquettish charm of [Li's] voice, tinged with shyness, is brilliantly offset by Björn Yttling's skeletal productions, which create great pop momentum out of the slightest effects", concluding, "The lyrics lack focus at times but this is a winning debut."[15] Greg Cochrane of the NME called the album "[s]imple but sensational".[9] K. Ross Hoffman of AllMusic wrote, "Brimming with ideas but understated, even tentative in executing them, and big on hooks but nervously intimate in presentation, Youth Novels is a curious, decidedly unorthodox but endearing record."[5]

Joe Gross of Spin stated that "[Li's] voice is mousy, the low end juicy, the melodies sketchy, the choruses huge", but found that "[s]he should lose the spoken-word bits, though; they don't even work for her goddess Madonna."[13] Tom Ewing of Pitchfork expressed, "At its frequent best, the record manages to sketch out widescreen hit songs with a remarkable economy of means. At its more occasional worst, the tracks feel frustratingly underthought."[10] Will Hermes of Rolling Stone felt that Li's "frosty squeak is a limited instrument, but she works it, mixing adorable playground scats with spoken-word whispers and parched coos that barely sketch her sugary melodies. The arrangements also dress simple tunes in surprising ways, with odd choral bits and percolating percussion webs that should tease movement from even reluctant hips."[12] The Guardian's Maddy Costa opined that the song "Tonight" "shows what she is capable of: underscored by a melancholy piano, she is darkly seductive", but "[a]fter that has passed, the album just gets increasingly cloying."[8]

Accolades[edit]

Youth Novels earned Li five nominations for the 2009 Swedish Grammis, including Album of the Year, Female Artist of the Year, Live Act of the Year, Composer of the Year (with Yttling) and Lyricist of the Year.[16] The same year, she won the P3 Guld award for Newcomer of the Year and was nominated for Pop Artist of the Year.[17]

Publication List Rank
Complex The 100 Best Albums of The Complex Decade[18] 54
Consequence of Sound The Top 100 Albums (2008)[19] 41
Drowned in Sound 50 Albums of 2008[20] 41
musicOMH Top 50 Best Albums of 2008[21] 30
NME Top 50 Albums of 2008[22] 44
Paste Top 50 Albums of 2008[23] 46
Pitchfork The 50 Best Albums of 2008[24] 45
PopMatters The Best Albums of 2008[25] 40
Q The 50 Best Albums of 2008[26] 37
Spin The 40 Best Albums of 2008[27] 36
Times, TheThe Times The 100 Best Pop Albums of the Noughties[28] 97
Village Voice, TheThe Village Voice Pazz & Jop 2008[29] 81

Commercial performance[edit]

In Li's native Sweden, Youth Novels debuted and peaked at number three on the Swedish Albums Chart for the week of 7 February 2008, behind Johnny Logan & Friends' The Irish Connection and Van Morrison's Still on Top – The Greatest Hits.[30] It spent 20 non-consecutive weeks altogether on the chart, including four re-entries in 2008 and one on 30 January 2009.[31] The album charted for a sole week in both the United Kingdom and Ireland, reaching numbers 112 and 75, respectively.[32][33]

In continental Europe, Youth Novels reached number 36 in Norway, number 56 in Belgium, number 75 in the Netherlands and number 143 in France.[34] It also peaked at number 18 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers in the United States,[35] and at number seven on the ARIA Hitseekers chart in Australia.[36] As of April 2014, the album had sold 106,000 copies in the United States.[37]

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Lykke Li and Björn Yttling.

No. Title Lyrics Length
1. "Melodies & Desires"  
  • Li
  • Nils-Erik Sandberg
3:52
2. "Dance, Dance, Dance"   Li 3:41
3. "I'm Good, I'm Gone"  
  • Li
  • Yttling
3:09
4. "Let It Fall"   Li 2:42
5. "My Love"   Li 4:36
6. "Little Bit"   Li 4:33
7. "Hanging High"   Li 4:07
8. "This Trumpet in My Head"  
  • Li
  • Sandberg
2:36
9. "Complaint Department"   Yttling 4:32
10. "Breaking It Up"   Li 3:41
11. "Time Flies"   Li 3:21
12. "Window Blues"  
  • Li
  • Sandberg
3:59

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Youth Novels.[40]

Additional personnel for the international edition
  • John Eriksson – percussion (on "Everybody but Me")
  • Per "Ruskträsk" Johansson – flute (on "Tonight")
  • Lars Skoglund – cowbell (on "Tonight"); drums (on "Everybody but Me")
  • Björn Yttling – electric bass, piano (on "Tonight" and "Everybody but Me"); celesta, organ, percussion, rocksichord (on "Tonight"); flute, trumpet (on "Everybody but Me")

Charts[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Ref.
Sweden 30 January 2008 LL [45]
Ireland 6 June 2008 Atlantic [46]
United Kingdom 9 June 2008 [47]
Netherlands 15 August 2008 Warner [48]
United States 19 August 2008 Atlantic [49]
Australia 5 September 2008 Warner [50]
France 29 September 2008 [51]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Monger, Timothy. "I Never Learn – Lykke Li". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  2. ^ Liedel, Kevin (3 May 2014). "Lykke Li: I Never Learn". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  3. ^ Marchese, David (10 January 2011). "EXCLUSIVE: New Lykke Li Song!". Spin. Retrieved 6 June 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "Reviews for Youth Novels by Lykke Li". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c Hoffman, K. Ross. "Youth Novels – Lykke Li". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Rizov, Vadim (25 August 2008). "Lykke Li: Youth Novels". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 23 July 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Denney, Alex (5 June 2008). "Lykke Li – Youth Novels". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Costa, Maddy (30 May 2008). "Lykke Li, Youth Novels". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 July 2016. 
  9. ^ a b Cochrane, Greg (6 June 2008). "Lykke Li – Youth Novels". NME. Time Inc. UK. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Ewing, Tom (3 June 2008). "Lykke Li: Youth Novels". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  11. ^ a b Begrand, Adrien (26 March 2008). "Lykke Li: Youth Novels". PopMatters. Retrieved 23 July 2016. 
  12. ^ a b Hermes, Will (21 August 2008). "Youth Novels : Lykke Li". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Archived from the original on 29 April 2009. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  13. ^ a b Gross, Joe (18 August 2008). "Lykke Li, 'Youth Novels'". Spin. Archived from the original on 16 March 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  14. ^ a b Gatti, Tom (7 June 2008). "Lykke Li: Youth Novels". The Times. Archived from the original on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  15. ^ Fox, Killian (18 May 2008). "Reviews 11–25". The Observer. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 23 July 2016. 
  16. ^ "De kan få en Grammis i år" [They can get a Grammis this year]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). 26 November 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2016. 
  17. ^ "Alla vinnare och nominerade artister 2009" [All winners and nominees of 2009] (in Swedish). Sveriges Radio P3. 3 December 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2016. 
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  27. ^ "The 40 Best Albums of 2008". Spin. 11 December 2008. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  28. ^ "The 100 best pop albums of the Noughties". The Times. 21 November 2009. Archived from the original on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2016. 
  29. ^ "Pazz+Jop 2008: Albums Winners". The Village Voice. Retrieved 23 July 2016. 
  30. ^ "Sverigetopplistan – Albums Top 60". swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. 7 February 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2011. 
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  32. ^ a b "Chart Log UK: 1994–2008 (DJ Steve L. – LZ Love)". Zobbel. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
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