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The Story Behind Lykke Li’s Dark Love Song “No Rest for the Wicked”

The Swedish songwriter also discusses the track "U&I" off her latest LP, Eyeye

lykke li no rest for the wicked story behind the song eyeye
The Story Behind the Song: Lykke Li’s “No Rest for the Wicked,” photo courtesy of artist
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    Swedish dream pop artist Lykke Li dives into her I Never Learn track “No Rest for the Wicked” on this episode of The Story Behind the Song.

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    Always a musical enigma, Lykke Li started her career with the light, bouncy breakout “Little Bit.” She soon veered into deep darkness, especially with her third full-length album, 2014’s I Never Learn. Li’s twisted journey continued with her 2018 latex-heavy album so sad so sexy before delivering this year’s darkly haunting, spare, and cinematic Eyeye, an effort that essentially rejects everything about its predecessor.

    Through it all, Li has remained fearlessly willing to open her wounds to the world to expose everything in her art, refusing to be pigeonholed as she unapologetically jumps genres. Li’s dark themes – which are a constant in what she deems to be the “movie” that is her life – hypnotize and haunt us. They draw us into her creative catharsis, making them collective. Li is a true artist, plain and simple.

    That said, she’s never been an industry “hit-maker” — and that’s not her mission. At the same time, her songs consistently find themselves at the forefront of pop culture, whether it’s “Possibility” appearing in Twilight, or “Get Some” showing up in Pretty Little Liars. One of her most iconic tracks is “No Rest for the Wicked” off I Never Learn. Li wrote the song as she was exiting a relationship and packing her bags to move from Europe to New York, condemning herself for the damage wrought in the process.

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    In this latest episode of The Story Behind the SongLykke Li takes host Peter Csathy through the genesis of “No Rest for the Wicked,” explaining along the way why the song continues to haunt. The two also discuss Eyeye, Li’s new visual album that includes one-minute videos transitioning each of the eight songs into the next. The effect is punctuated with supreme cinematic effect on the closing track “U&I,” which finds Li imploring her now ex-lover not to turn his back and walk away.

    Listen to the full episode above, and then make sure you like, review, and subscribe to The Story Behind the Song wherever you get your podcasts to catch each episode of the monthly series. Also keep an eye on the Consequence Podcast Network for updates on all our series, and follow host Peter Csathy on Twitter @pcsathy and at Creative Media.

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