“I Never Learn” is the third installment by Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li, and is set to be released on May 5th. Circling around the themes of lost-love and heartache, the album is a dark and haunting capsule perfect for reminiscing for what never was. Although in the beginning the album left much to be desired, giving myself time to digest the musical and the emotions driving it, I grew to appreciate this new venture by the singer.
Having followed the progression of her music career, “I Never Learn” struck out to me, both in terms of the musical arrangements and the lyrical content. Not completely uncharacteristic of Lykke Li, the album portrays a negative and almost defeatist attitude. Having lost love, the singer-songwriter proclaims her decision to not love again, having learned her lesson. With lyrics like “I let my true love down. I had his heart but I broke it every time,” the agony and yearning in Li’s voice is both mesmerizing and also heart-wrenching. This album stood out from her previous works because of the newfound sense of maturity in Lykke Li’s song writing found in the record. This maturity is perfectly illustrated in songs such as “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” where the singer’s brutal honesty towards admitting her mistakes makes the song an avenue of self-reflection and perhaps, closure for Li herself. With her voice breaking in “Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone,” the listener is made to acknowledge the emotion behind the song and displays her maturity, not only as a songwriter but as a singer, too. The musical arrangement of the album is what is to be expected of the singer, with her use of simplistic yet melancholic piano-playing and percussive instruments perfectly accessorize her emotional ballads. But even though the poignant percussions and the piano are admirable as always, what made the album special was Li’s clearly developed songwriting ability, which rather than inducing feelings of sympathy, forces the listener to empathize with her pain.
I would definitely recommend Lykke Li’s new album to anyone looking for music to describe the all too familiar feeling of having your heart broken. The album will break your heart all over again hopefully by the end make you feel a little less alone.