Like Smiths’ frontman Morrissey, Lykke Li started her career with upbeat, danceable pop tunes, and has since moved toward more somber, delicate material. Also like Moz, the Swedish indie-pop cutie’s brooding lyrics and quirky delivery have always exposed a tender, heartbroken sensibility regardless of the backing beat.
And with songs like “Never Gonna Love Again”, “Heart Of Steel” and “Sleeping Alone”, there’s no shortage of feelings on I Never Learn. Piano and guitar often builds around a minimalist, eerie percussion that sounds like pieces of metal clanking over synth bass. You might catch yourself humming the melodies if your boys aren’t around to call you out on being soft for it.
You might catch yourself humming the melodies if your boys aren’t around to call you out on being soft for it.
With Li’s lyrical content, it’s no surprise that walking teddy bear / emotional wordsmith Drake hopped on a remix from her 2008 debut Youth Novels. This time around A$AP Rocky delivers a few dramatic heartbreak verses to some considerable success on “No Rest For The Wicked”.
Unfortunately, while a majority of I Never Learn‘s material is delivered earnestly and is genuinely moving, there are quite a few moments where the grief-stricken content turns into a depressing schtick. If you’ve ever coached a friend through a breakup, the ratio of good to bad on the album is equal to the amount of time you feel sorry for your buddy versus the amount of time you want to tell him to shut up and get over it.
Still, the instrumentation and production is solid throughout, and if you want to impress a chick with art school sensibilities, I Never Learn is definitely worth a listen.
Best Beat: “No Rest For The Wicked”
Best Verse: “No question / If love don’t work, it’s just gonna hurt / It all goes bad, it just gets worse / I can’t describe it with just one verse”
Greatest Miss: “Just Like A Dream”
For fans of: Broken Social Scene, Cat Power, girls who wear their heart on their sleeve
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