Vodpod videos no longer available.
When Lykke Li was presented with the opportunity to write a song for the “New Moon” soundtrack, she did what any bubbling-beneath-the-surface artist would’ve done: She thought about it for a really long time.
“Everyone kept asking me if I wanted to do it, how [the song] was going, when would I have it finished, and I was like, ‘Eh, I don’t know, maybe I’ll do it, maybe I won’t,’ ” she laughed. “I mean, I had heard of the ‘Twilight’ phenomenon, but I didn’t read the books or watch the first movie or anything. I mean, I’m Swedish.”
She’s not trying to sound glib. That’s just how the 23-year-old Li works. She found fame and acclaim (more so back home than abroad, but who’s counting?) with her 2008 album Youth Novels, a simmering, sexy disc that built indelibly unique pop music out of sources both organic (handclaps, foot stomps, etc) and mechanical (808s, theremins, etc.). She has since toured the world and spent much of her time trying to figure out what to do next. Writing a song for a very major Hollywood picture just didn’t seem to be in the cards.
Until she saw “New Moon,” that is. Then, suddenly, she was hooked.
“I stayed [in Los Angeles] and watched the movie, when it only had green screen on it. I had this hook in my mind, even before I saw the movie, and then I was watching it, and I was like, ‘That’s the hook!’ ” she said. “So it was very much like a discovery, inside myself and musically. I had this song growing inside of me that I had to get out, and [the film] was the trigger. Because I really connected with Bella and Edward’s tortured love story.”
So Li sat down at her piano and wrote “Possibility,” a very maudlin song about love and pain and, ultimately, death. Lots of death. Like we said, she doesn’t operate like most of her pop contemporaries.
“I get very visual when I make the songs. It’s really quite serious. It’s almost like a fever haze. It’s very repetitive, like a mood you go into. But it’s really serious, because, if you’re really, really in love, and somebody leaves you, that’s a very serious thing,” Li explained. “And so the lyrics are like, ‘When you walk, you walk like a thief with blood on your hands, because I die when you leave me.’ It’s in this limbo that, when the song is done, you don’t know if I’ve survived or not. It’s very much like a fever, like, ‘Oh, my God, it’s hot, she’s going to die, maybe she did die?’ It lingers on, into the next life. It’s dark.”
It’s a complex, moody song on an album positively teeming with them, mostly written by lesser-known, decidedly indie acts. Which, again, was part of the reason Li signed up. She doesn’t see this as a simple soundtrack; to her, it’s part of a much larger mission.
“We’ve been feeding people such sh–. Why can’t we feed them good things? I really thought about that too,” she smiled. “Because I know Robert Pattinson is this big teen idol, but I remember watching ‘Romeo + Juliet’ with Leonardo DiCaprio, and I was, like, in love. I cried, like, five times. And the soundtrack to that movie is so good, you know? Really well-chosen songs. Not commercial. I think it’s great, and hopefully we can do that again.”