Meaning of “I Follow Rivers” by Lykke Li

“I Follow Rivers” is a song released in 2011 by Swedish singer and songwriter Lykke Li. The lyrics of “I Follow Rivers” focus solely on the theme of deep and uncontrollable desire. In an interview Li had with LifeLounge in 2011, she was asked about the song’s meaning. She responded by saying the track was a “very personal” one that centers on nothing but desire.  

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Lykke Li's I Follow Rivers at

Here are Li’s precise words regarding the meaning of “I Follow Rivers”:

Lykke Li explains "I Follow Rivers" lyrics

Facts about “I Follow Rivers”

  • Lykke Li co-wrote this hit with two notable songwriters. These writers are: Swedish music producer Björn Yttling and American record producer Rick Nowels.
  • “I Follow Rivers” was produced by Yttling.
  • January 21, 2011 was the date this track came out. It was released on Atlantic Records and LL Recordings as the second single from Li’s sophomore album Wounded Rhymes.
  • Li wrote this song as well as the entire album Wounded Rhymes album in Los Angeles.
  • This was the first single Li released in the year 2011.
  • To date, this is Li’s most successful single. It reached number 1 in several countries, including Germany, Italy, Greece and Belgium.
  • In the music video, Li is the woman in black chasing after her man. Lebanese born Swedish actor Fares Fares plays Li’s love interest. Swedish film director and animator Tarik Saleh directed the video.
  • In 2011, Belgian DJ and music producer The Magician made a remix of this track. The remix was such a success that to date it remains one of The Magician’s most well-known songs.
  • In 2012, the Belgian rock band Triggerfinger released an acoustic cover of this track. That cover was also a success. It topped the charts in a number of European countries, including the Netherlands.

What musical genre is “I Follow Rivers”?

It is a goth pop song as well as a dance song.

Did Lykke Li receive any awards or honors for this song?

No. However, the album Wounded Rhymes (the album on which the track appears) won her an award at the 2012 Grammis Award. It won in the category of Album of the Year.

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