TIME Music

Lykke Li’s “No Rest For the Wicked” is Full of Virtue

The Swedish songbird's evolving sound is increasingly classic

With her 2008 debut Youth Novels and its feted follow-up, 2011’s Wounded Rhymes, Swedish pop performer Lykke Li revealed herself to be equally comfortable churning out radio-ready hits and bruised, dramatic ballads. She has another album on the horizon — that’s I Never Learn, due May 6 on Atlantic — and judging from its promotional singles, Li will be leaning heavily on the latter end of that spectrum.

“No Rest for the Wicked” is the most recent track cut from the album, and it moves with a grandeur that Li withheld from earlier cut “Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone”: percussion booms and blooms, scooping up space, and a bright piano line lends Li’s dour arrangement a touch of sweetness. The sound of that piano could be ripped from a ‘70s Bruce Springsteen record, a choice that seems intentional given Li’s previously stated admiration for that sort of “classic” songwriting tradition.

It remains to be seen whether or not the remainder of I Never Learn meets those lofty standards, but “No Rest for the Wicked” is another strong preview.

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