Lykke Li – ‘Still Sad Still Sexy’ review

This six-track extension of Li's 'So Sad So Sexy' album puts a compelling spin on her sad-pop aesthetic, and indicates the direction she might take in the future

As its title suggests, this six-track EP is essentially an extension of Lykke Li‘s excellent 2018 album ‘So Sad So Sexy’. Featuring two remixes, two tracks in an “alt version” and a couple of new songs, it’s inevitably a bit of a ragbag collection. But thanks to Li’s strong songwriting and clarity of vision, it’s also well worth a listen, especially if you enjoyed her stellar contributions to Mark Ronson’s recent ‘Late Night Feelings’ album.

The Swedish singer-songwriter told NME earlier this month that for her next album, she’s “going to really scale it down and back and slow it down”, adding that “it’ll be more like soul music.” With this in mind, these alternative versions original title track ‘So Sad So Sexy’ and ‘Deep End’ could offer a preview of forthcoming attractions. On the original albums, they’re dusky electro-R&B tracks with hip, trap-influenced production; here, they’re pure piano ballads that spotlight Li’s emotive vocals. When she sings “Oh, baby I know where you’ve been, I know where you been, in the deep end”, it’s pretty much sad-pop perfection.

The two new songs are also impressive. ‘Baby Doves’ is an atmospheric R&B bop, while ‘Neon’ is a sexy and euphoric electro-pop track on which Li sings “We kiss better in darkness”. The remix of ‘Sex Money Feelings Die’ doesn’t benefit massively benefit from its new Lil Baby bars, but there’s no denying that the hip hop star puts a memorable spin on the whole ‘So Sad So Sexy’ concept. “Fucked her then I said I love her,” he raps matter-of-factly. “To be honest, by the time she wake I’ll have another number.”

The EP’s highlight definitely comes in the form of ‘Two Nights Part II’, on which Skrillex transforms the midtempo original into a Major Lazer-style club banger featuring Ty Dolla Sign. It’s probably Li’s most danceable moment since The Magician’s amazing house-influenced remix of ‘I Follow Rivers’. This record might not look as though it’s bulging with new musical delights, but it’s certainly well worth delving into.