By now you’ve almost certainly heard about the out-of-the-blue release of U2’s new album, Songs of Innocence, and chances are, it’s already on your phone, computer, or whatever device you have that uses iTunes. The 11-song LP closes with the wrencing track, “The Troubles,” and features the vocal talents of Lykke Li, who represents the only guest star on the album (unless you count producer Danger Mouse, who’s influence is always palpable).
In an interview with Rolling Stone, the 28-year-old Swedish singer revealed that she was “lying upside down” at her chiropractor’s office when she found out about the album’s Apple-sponsored release. It certainly came as a surprise, just like when Danger Mouse invited her to be on the album. “He texted me, ‘Hey, do you want to sing on a U2 track?'” she says. “And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I don’t know. Sure.’ It was a random question to ask.”
Aside from getting instructions from Bono on how to sing in tune, Li was privy to the iconic frontman’s tales as a rock’n’roll lifer, including one involving Jack Nicholson and Nina Simone that she won’t share. “Super interesting. It was really fun. He cracked a lot of jokes and referred to me as a ‘little voodoo child.’ I really had a blast.”
For her part, Li seems relatively unfazed by the collaboration, saying of U2, “I guess they’re kind of like one of the biggest bands in the world.” Really, she should be overjoyed that Bono gave her such high praise. “He said I blew everyone out of the water,” she recalled. “I like that.”
Lykke Li’s third album, I Never Learn, is out now via Atlantic, while U2’s Songs of Innocence will come out physically on October 13.