by Andie Eisen

Backstage with Lykke Li. Photo by Charlotte Dawes.

Backstage with Lykke Li. Photo by Charlotte Dawes.

“so sad so sexy”

A title that serves as both a manifesto and a warning. An ode to the melancholy horniness of summer; to the self-destructive sensuality of cigarettes, breakup sex, and Los Angeles. A sonic embodiment of that scene where Naomi Watts cries and masturbates in Mulholland Drive (aka a “tear-jerker”). Sad + Sexy is a recipe that characterizes most of Lykke’s oeuvre. In this case, the deadpan title and trap-pop beats add just the right amount of Scandanavian aloofness to ensure Li has a tight grip on the reins of melodrama. Her performance at The Wiltern left me marveling at her ability to be both emotionally raw and entirely in control of her domain: a high priestess with her entire congregation chanting “SEX MONEY FEELINGS DIE.”  

On stage, Li is a vision in three layers of black polyvinyl. She exudes the same slick, bleach-blonde elegance of Bowie’s Thin White Duke. Shockingly dextrous as a hip-hop dancer, Li brings an unparalleled swagger to tambourine playing. The performance of songs like “Bad Woman” and “Last Piece” feel like a cross between a ballad and a tantrum—ferociously beating her drumsticks and flinging them on the floor with the fanfare of a mic-drop. Aside from the new album, she entertained audiences with beloved classics, even begrudgingly playing the remixed chords of “I Follow Rivers” to the delight of her fans. After being applauded back to stage for an encore, she covered the very sad n’ sexy 2009 classic, “U Got It Bad” by Usher. 

After a six months of listening to so sad so sexy, this is my user testimonial verifying it is a five-star soundtrack for crying in your car on the commute home. If you are a smoker I highly recommend a pack of Marlboros, although this comes with the caveat that people can see you cry with your windows down. So light one up, text your ex something cryptic like: “I had a dream about you last night,” and blast this album full volume from start to finish. 

Here is Flaunt’s guide to so sad so sexy. Each song rated on a scale of %sad/ %sexy. 

  1. hard rain: 75% sad/ 25% sexy

  2. deep end: 30% sad/ 70% sexy

  3. two nights: 80% sad/ 20% sexy (most of the sexiness rating attributed to the line, “Damn right, she gon’ dance on my damn Dickies”)

  4. last piece: 100% sad (WARNING: extremely sad) 

  5. jaguars in the air: 100% sexy (vacation forever, baby) 

  6. sex money feelings die: 50% sad/ 50% sexy 

  7. so sad so sexy: 85% sad/ 15% sexy (judging by the title one would assume a fifty fifty split, but not the case)

  8. better alone: 100% sad (WARNING: high levels of nostalgia for your last break up)

  9. bad woman: 90% sad/ 10% sexy (the use of the word ‘bad’ is always sexy)

  10. utopia:  5% sad/ 95% sexy (album ends on a hopeful note! The yearning adds a hint of sad)

    TOTAL ALBUM: 61.5% sad & 38.5% sexy 

Photos by Jazz Shademan & Charlotte Dawes (of YOLA Mezcal)