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I NEVER LEARN (VINYL - 1LP)

Lykke Li
I NEVER LEARN (VINYL - 1LP)

It would have made sense (or at least have been obvious) that Lykke Li’s third album would take on the dance pop she’s hinted at with her first two albums. But the aptly titled I Never Learn isn’t concerned with fulfilling some sort of pop star destiny. It’s an album that’s as true to Li as an artist as anything she’s done, and thus it’s also one of her strongest statements yet. The songs are direct, as hard acoustic guitar strums and Li’s weary voice hit like emotional torpedoes on the opening title track. She digs into the pain and guilt that still takes place after you’ve been the one to instigate a breakup on the rousing “No Rest for the Wicked,” singing “I had his heart but I broke it every time” with the implied knowledge that nothing could’ve been done. The songs grow more musically rich as the album progresses, “Silverline’s” cool synth effects adding a digital wistfulness and “Gunshot” upping the energy for a blistering, classically written power ballad about longing. Li’s voice has never sounded better throughout, making great use of placing it so high in the mix it becomes distorted on torch song “Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone.” You could accuse the songs of samey, minor key mopiness—you might miss some of the buoyancy of a song like “Dance, Dance, Dance”—but that might depend on your frame of mind, as I Never Learn’s singular devotion to heartache is also its chief strength. By the time she gets to the melodic “Never Gonna Love Again,” Li sounds as resolute and strengthened as one could hope for after an eviscerating breakup. With I Never Learn, Li earns a place in the pantheon of great breakup albums.

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Summary

It would have made sense (or at least have been obvious) that Lykke Li’s third album would take on the dance pop she’s hinted at with her first two albums. But the aptly titled I Never Learn isn’t concerned with fulfilling some sort of pop star destiny. It’s an album that’s as true to Li as an artist as anything she’s done, and thus it’s also one of her strongest statements yet. The songs are direct, as hard acoustic guitar strums and Li’s weary voice hit like emotional torpedoes on the opening title track. She digs into the pain and guilt that still takes place after you’ve been the one to instigate a breakup on the rousing “No Rest for the Wicked,” singing “I had his heart but I broke it every time” with the implied knowledge that nothing could’ve been done. The songs grow more musically rich as the album progresses, “Silverline’s” cool synth effects adding a digital wistfulness and “Gunshot” upping the energy for a blistering, classically written power ballad about longing. Li’s voice has never sounded better throughout, making great use of placing it so high in the mix it becomes distorted on torch song “Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone.” You could accuse the songs of samey, minor key mopiness—you might miss some of the buoyancy of a song like “Dance, Dance, Dance”—but that might depend on your frame of mind, as I Never Learn’s singular devotion to heartache is also its chief strength. By the time she gets to the melodic “Never Gonna Love Again,” Li sounds as resolute and strengthened as one could hope for after an eviscerating breakup. With I Never Learn, Li earns a place in the pantheon of great breakup albums.

Details

1-01- I Never Learn
1-02- No Rest For the Wicked
1-03- Just Like a Dream
1-04- Silverline
1-05- Gunshot
1-06- Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone
1-07- Never Gonna Love Again
1-08- Heart of Steel
1-09- Sleeping Alone
1-10- Outtakes