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Released: 2008

Lykke Li’s “Little Bit” is a poignant musing on the intricate game of love. Playing between fear and desire, this song echoes the inner turmoil of falling in love, the unease when love is yet unreciprocated, and the threshold of vulnerability one must cross to admit their feelings.

The opening verse, “Hands down/I’m too proud for love/But with eyes shut/It’s you I’m thinking of”, establishes the singer’s dilemma. The pride that hinders her from openly admitting her love, yet she can’t help but dream of this unknown person when she closes her eyes. The line, “But how we moved from A to B/It can’t be up to me ’cause I don’t know” further emphasizes her trepidation of moving forward in a relationship she isn’t sure about.

The ensuing chorus argues, “I think I’m a little bit, little bit/A little bit in love with you/But only if you’re a little bit, little bit/Little bit in lo-lo-lo-lo-love with me”, which reveals her willingness to accept the love, but with a caveat: this person must first show some love for her. This surrender to emotions isn’t without a fair dose of self-protection.

The verse, “And for you, I keep my legs apart/And forget about my tainted heart” powerfully encapsulates the passion and vulnerability involved in love; yet, the subsequent line “And I will never ever be the first to say it” underlines the dread of confessing love first, reinforcing the theme of tentativeness and fear of rejection.

If we look at the verse “I would do it, push a button/Pull a trigger, pull a mountain, jump off a cliff/’Cause you know, baby, I love you, love you a little bit”, it’s clear that Li is willing to make grand gestures for love, but again, she stops short of full declaration, reiterating only a “little bit” of love.

The repeated phrase, “Come here, stay with me, stroke me by the hair/’Cause I would give anything, anything/To have you as my man” conveys the desperation and willingness to compromise just to keep this loved one close.

Throughout “Little Bit”, we see Lykke Li walking the tightrope of her feelings, acknowledging the weight of her affection but holding back from fully plunging into it. It’s a keen expression of the universal human struggle with vulnerability in love – the fear of being the first to jump and the hope of not diving into an empty pool.

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