Like (we assume) many of you, we’re counting down the days to June 6, when the film adaptation of John Green’s cry-your-eyes-out novel The Fault in Our Stars comes out. Helping us get through this difficult time is “No One Ever Loved,” the gorgeous (and heartbreaking) song that Lykke Li wrote for the movie’s soundtrack. It comes out tomorrow, but guess what, we get to play it for you here today!
The song is a fitting followup to I Never Learn, the devastating breakup album Lykke released earlier this month.
I recently got a chance to catch up with her and talk about heartbreak, secret online clubs for female Swedish musicians, and why “No One Ever Loved” is the perfect song for Hazel Grace Lancaster.
DEVON MALONEY: Where are you right now, and where do you wish you could be?
LYKKE LI: I’m in London right now, dreaming of being out in the countryside, anywhere in the world where the birds sing and the sun shines.
You just moved to Los Angeles from Sweden, right? How are you adjusting to life there?
I’ve been on tour for a while, so I have mostly been spending my time in European hotel beds or bus bunks. The thing I miss the most [about L.A.] is the view from my bedroom window, overlooking the canyon and the promise that everything will be all right.
I’ve heard a rumor that there is a secret all-female listserv for Swedish musicians. Is this true?
All I can say is that it’s true, but the rest of the information is confidential!
Was there something about The Fault in Our Stars—the movie or the book—that made you want to write a song for it, or was it more like people told you, “This movie absolutely needs your music?”
I actually got the book from a friend long before I knew of any movie being made. At first I was a bit skeptical, ’cause it seemed to be quite a “young” book and not what I usually like to read. But my friend kept insisting, saying if I ever needed a good heart-pull, this was it. At last I found myself stranded in a house in Sicily during a heatwave without anything else to read, so I read it in one go and cried my heart out. I found it to be such a touching love story and immediately thought it would be such a great movie. It’s so crazy, because I had just written the song “No One Ever Loved,” which is about star-crossed lovers and how you will never ever get over that one true love. It feels like the universe made this happen, and I am so happy about it. It makes perfect sense, it feels like the lyrics are word by word how [the main character] Hazel would feel: You will never get over your first love, and no one will ever understand the universe where the two of you existed, or the way his eyes consist of starry skies and paradises.
What’s the last album you got really obsessed with?
Unfortunately, because of the modern times, I mostly get obsessed with songs now, but a record I’ve been spinning lately is Bob Dylan’s Desire. He sure sounds heartbroken to me.
Your new album, I Never Learn, is pretty heartbreaking too. Instead of asking you about the relationship that inspired it, I wanted to ask about your first-ever breakup. How did you get over it?
I look back on it with compassion and gratitude. It is a gift to be able to love that deep and feel that much. You learn so much about yourself every time your heart breaks, because every time it happens, you have to become someone else—it’s evolution! It is true that time heals all wounds, and also that heartbreak is what made every great piece of art. We should be thankful that we can finally understand what they are all talking about. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get easier, but you just have to keep pushing on. Humans have been through this for centuries, so rest assured that our bodies and souls are made for that shit. We can handle it.
Is there something that always cheers you up or comforts you when you get in that dark place?
Light, friends, wine and a good dinner, fluffy sheets, and good movies. A good cry doesn’t hurt either.
What’s one thing that hasn’t changed about you since you were very young?
I’m still a die-hard romantic. ♦
Devon Maloney is a culture journalist living in New York and Los Angeles. She likes fluffy sheets and Twitter.