A heartfelt self-portrait of an album, I’ll Never Learn reveals pain, beauty and charm. A step back from the livelier previous two albums, the Swedish ‘sugar pop’ star holds her heart on her sleeve and the listener in her pocket; enchanting, as she is bold. Having said of her latest release – “I only thought I knew what heartbreak was until this record” – you know it’s going to be something special, and that it is.
Surrendering to sadness, Lykke Li succeeds in chronicling feelings of heartbreak, sorrow and turmoil in just 9 short songs. Some of which are reminiscent of Placebo – hypnotising and bleak, while ‘Never Gonna Love Again’ echoes the late 80s, early 90s popular love songs. Quite the contrast.
Track 5 – ‘Gunshot’, sounds like what the soundtrack to Tarzan would do if it was produced by Sigur Rós – and that’s not meant to demean the track in any way; I both love Tarzan and Sigur Ros, and in fact, the influence of Sigur Rós is palpable throughout many tracks on the album. This purely demonstrates her talent at utilising a number of different instruments in an interesting and refreshing manner and is testament to her as a singer songwriter rather than a pop star. It is this talent that turns what could be another lackluster collection of gloomy love songs into something quite the opposite.
Maybe it’s going too far to call the album self-effacing, but, there’s a real sense of modesty behind the album that was perhaps less apparent in her previous work. Lykke Li refuses to succumb to the familiarity of a traditional love ballad. ‘Love Me Like I’m Not Made Of Stone’ is the track that comes closest to the common recognition of a ‘love song’ and yet it holds it own – lyrically more than instrumentally perhaps because the sincerity of her words are inescapable, nevertheless, it delivers something unique.
The album will be available on iTunes this week and it’s highly advisable to purchase it at the next available opportunity, like now.
Words: Bonnie Stuart