Album review of Lykke Li's 'I Never Learn'

By Rachel Karach,
Author Rating: 
3.0 Stars - It's Good

Lykke Li has been an integral part of the indie music community since 2008, when she burst onto the scene with her debut album, Youth Novels. Lykke Li is a Swedish alternative artist heavily influenced by acoustic and pop music. Once Youth Novels worked its way around Europe and into the US, she performed at popular music festivals like Coachella, Glastonbury and Lollapalooza. She has also collaborated with Kings of Leon, Kanye West and fellow Swedish musician Kleerup. She even landed a song on the 2009 soundtrack of the second Twilight film, The Twilight Saga: New Moon titled “Possibility.”

Lykke Li’s second album, Wounded Rhymes was released in early 2011 and met with great success. Some of her singles were featured on popular American television shows like Teen Wolf, The Vampire Diaries and Hawaii Five-0. Lykke Li’s most recent album, I Never Learn was released in May 2014 to the delight of eager fans.

I Never Learn is a highly emotional pop-ballad-style album in which the singer mourns the end of a romance that has affected a great amount of her music. Her characteristic reverberated sound is still definitely present but accompanied by a bit of a more mainstream atmosphere. While most of the songs on her older albums were raw in an almost uncomfortable way, her newest work has a distinctly more polished sound with brighter piano bits and more dramatic drumming. By nature, the album loses the acoustic air her other collections unmistakably share. The album is solid in that Lykke Li’s lyrics remain simplistic and potent in the way that helped her rise in popularity. Her melancholic crooning resembles her previous two albums, which is most likely enough to please many of her loyal fans.

I personally like the album, but I feel that the pop element is a bit overwhelming in I Never Learn. Pop sound was used as an accent in both Youth Novels and Wounded Rhymes while futuristic filters and acoustic, low-maintenance melodies took center stage. I Never Learn highlights the brighter pop sound, which sends confusing messages to the listener as most of the lyrics are a miserable recollection of a failed relationship. The tunes are catchy but perhaps misleading in an almost irritating fashion.

Never Gonna Love Again strongly resembles an eighties power ballad with striking piano chords, a tambourine and strings while Lykke Li croons about how she will never find a love like the one she lost. It’s a solid song—appealing even—though the lyrics don’t quite match the feel of the music.

The album is a sweet one with melodious songs and powerful lyrics, but I urge people to listen to Youth Novels to find Lykke Li’s most moving material.

Image via Amazon



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