There is something playful about the sorrow of Lykke Li. In the song “Sadness Is a Blessing,” she delivers the phrase that gives her latest album its title of “Wounded Rhymes,” but in a ringing chorus she sings, “sadness is my boyfriend.” Elsewhere on the album she imbues a song like “Unrequited Love” with a pining innocence, like it’s a song from the early ’60s, and immediately follows it with the sexy drive of “Get Some,” where she’s going out on the prowl, singing, “I’m your prostitute, you’re gonna get some.” In conversation, the Swedish singer is serious about her art, but also willing to laugh at herself.

One thing that comes across on “Wounded Rhymes” is the importance of the sequence. The way that “Get Some” comes after “Unrequited Love” seems particularly natural, in the way that a person would think. How much thought do you put into this?

It is a lot of thought and work into that. I actually had to leave out songs because I couldn’t fit them into my “world.” It’s about balance. Just like cooking, you follow your instinct but at some point you’ve got to ease off the salt.

Was it a conscious choice to lead off “Wounded Rhymes” with a song called “Youth Knows No Pain,” a title which seems to link your new album with your first one, which was titled “Youth Novels”?


That was probably my subconscious choosing, but I had some vague idea naming my whole album [“Youth Knows No Pain”] but thank God I didn’t! Gotta grow up.

Your song, “I Follow Rivers,” appeared in a “Glee” episode. Did you ever think something so mainstream for being all about happiness would celebrate a song from an album like “Wounded Rhymes”?

There is no business like show business, and sometimes even a melancholic person like me has to have a laugh and collect some stamps for the books. “Glee” is so far away from me as a person and artist, so it was more about me seeing the humor in some huge American show singing my song about a really destructive love. With that said, I haven’t actually ever watched the show and don’t know much about it except that my gay friends love it.

We had spoken before about how you met David Lynch and he was familiar with your work. Who else that was an influence on you would you want to admire your songs?

Well, if Ingmar Bergman came to life and liked me, that would just be lovely and fantastic. Actually, some fortune-teller ... told me he is my guardian angel so I’m probably all set!

Since the tones of your two albums are so different, are you finding it difficult to put songs from “Youth Novels” into your set?

It is rather painful. I would much rather go into a big My Bloody Valentine instrumental set, but you know, you’ve gotta serve your loving audience as well. After all, I am somewhat an entertainer.

Lykke Li
May 20
House of Blues
15 Lansdowne St., Boston
$25-$35, 800-745-3000
www.livenation.com

Other hot tickets

Boston Handbell Festival
Tuesday, 8 p.m.
Old South Church
645 Boylston St., Boston
Free, 617-536-1970
www.backbayringers.org
There is nothing quite like the ethereal, otherworldly and peaceful sound of handbells. Almost as impressive is the group discipline required to play them, since each person is in command of only two notes of the scale. This concert, organized by Old South Church and the Back Bay Ringers, brings together six local handbell choirs — you’re sure to get your fill.

‘Light and Power’
May 19-22
Cambridge Family YMCA, 820 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, $15-$75,
www.juventasmusic.com
This world premiere opera tells of the competition between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, focusing on the battle between Edison’s direct current and Tesla’s alternating current, which became one of the determining factors in the electrification of America. Integrity is the theme here, as Tesla’s scientific idealism runs up against the cold facts of business that Edison was all-too-happy to oblige. –Matthew Dinaro/Metro


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