Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Lykke Li: "I Never Learn" (album review)

Since Lykke Li's debut with Youth Novels we've seen many pop singers trying to mimic her sound by combining electronic-based rhythms with dark, seductive vocals.  Most have fallen far short.

On May 6th Li returns with her own set of new songs, in the form of her third full length album I Never Learn.

We're treated to big bursting doses of electro-pop on cuts like the forceful "No Rest for the Wicked" and the explosively passionate yet catchy "Gunshot".

"Heart of Steel" builds into a grandiose tour de force that has elements of both orchestrals and gospel choir music.

As is want in her career, the more stripped down tracks are some of Li's strongest.  The title track is a simply strummed guitar and windswept vocals that create a desolate aura.  On "Love Me Like I'm Not Made of Stone", it's Li's wavering vocal delivery and the minimalist arrangement that make it a truly touching song.

There's varying degrees of misses on this record.  They range from the obvious filler type ("Silverline") to the overly produced and sanitized overt attempt at radio-friendliness track ("Never Gonne Love Again").

Lykke Li's music has gotten more and more complex since her debut.  As a result the songs have also become less intimate.  That means the tunes are simply 'enjoyable' rather than 'paradigm-shifting'.

Best tracks: "Gunshot", "Heart of Steel"

Track listing for I Never Learn:
  • I Never Learn
  • No Rest for the Wicked
  • Just Like a Dream
  • Silverline
  • Gunshot
  • Love Me Like I'm Not Made of Stone
  • Never Gonna Love Again
  • Heart of Steel
  • Sleeping Alone

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