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Lightspeed Champion: 'Life Is Sweet,' And Sundry

A solo piano etude is one brightly colored gem in a jewel box of a new album by the British musician known as Lightspeed Champion. But don't be lulled into repose: The other cuts range from hard-pumping punk to Greek chorus theater to street corner doo-wop.

"I was convinced that this was the most 'together' record, like, compiled," says Lightspeed, whose given name is Devonte Hynes. "I was convinced that, in my weird mind, that these were all songs that sounded the same. And it was only afterwards, looking back, that I was like, 'Wow, I guess I kind of failed that mission.' "

Hynes' new album as Lightspeed Champion is called Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You. In an interview with host Liane Hansen, he says he was inspired by solo artists like Todd Rundgren, Serge Gainsbourg, Marvin Gaye and Harry Nilsson.

"I wanted to evoke emotions of old solo artists who I look up to, and who I respect," Hynes says. "Because I feel like the connotation of a solo artist now is someone with an acoustic guitar playing [Bob] Dylan covers, or something."

Hynes spoke on melodramatic pop songs, teaching himself how to arrange backing parts, and the derivation of his stage name.

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