New Music: Lykke Li – I Never Learn


Lykke LiI Never Learn

3.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“No Rest For The Wicked”
“Just Like A Dream”
“Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone”

Album Highlights: Lykke Li has always been a strong songwriter, and this album is no different. In an interview with NME in January Li stated, “It’s always about me and the guilt and the shame and the hurt and the pride and the confusion of being a woman. I always feel like I’ve been slightly misunderstood. As a woman you get judged for appearances or things like that I don’t really care about. If anything I want to be seen as a singer-songwriter rather than a pop artist. I really feel like I’ve found my voice.” This album does help to establish Li as more of a singer-songwriter. The songs are well written, wonderfully produced, and at times surprisingly bare. For example, when she sings “Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone” she can barely get the last verse out. It’s utterly passionate and brutal. Nothing about this album is forced or manufactured. Producing again is Bjorn Yttling, of Peter, Bjorn, and John, who produced Li’s previous albums. Li herself dips into a stronger production role on this album, and Greg Kurstin (Lily Allen, Tegan and Sara) produced the track “Gunshot”.

Album Lowlight: This album contains less playfulness, and less of the girl group melodies that I thoroughly enjoyed from Li’s previous efforts. Perhaps it is fitting that her third album be titled I Never Learn, and be the saddest album to date. With previous efforts, Li sang of the enjoyment she felt from crying her hardest, she sang of sadness being her boyfriend, over a bittersweet melody. Part of what made these songs so amazing is Li’s ability to be both heartbroken and happy. She is extremely gifted in creating songs that express the happiness of being sad, the strength and depth that one can gain from experiencing pain. These songs are beautifully balanced, both lyrically and musically. This album, however, completely skips this theme that Li so excels at and instead wallows in its own sadness. It lacks some enthusiasm. While I’m sure this is intentional due to personal heartbreak and Li’s desire not to be regarded as a pop star, it’s not her best work.

Takeaway: Lykke Li’s Wounded Rhymes contains her best work. But there is something to be said about the ability of an artist like Li to be able to release a third album of this nature. On the edge of being a “pop star”, Li has released an album that doesn’t really contain any big, tribal-drums pop song. If you’re looking for another “Get Some” or “I Follow Rivers”, you will not find it here. If you’re ready for some beautifully sad music similar to what she briefly visited on Wounded Rhymes, then this is your album. Her first effort was playful naivete. Her second, more mature and more troubled. And I Never Learn is just raw heartbreak. There’s no sweet on this album, no dancing drums. It is simply the heartache that occurs when you realize you didn’t learn from your wounds, and now you must get used to sleeping alone.

~Krystal Beasley


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