The third album from Lykke Li is meant to be the one that turns her from Swedish cult artist to international pop star – big adverts, aggressive promotional campaign and all – despite her protestations that she's really a singer-songwriter. It might succeed, but it'll be a triumph based on singles rather than an undeniable album. I Never Learn works best in the smallest doses, despite its brevity, because it's as one-paced as a fading lower-division central defender, and that pace is sluggish. Each of the 10 tracks is a lovelorn ballad, often lovely on their own, but a little tiresome across a whole album. And Li's thin voice – somewhere between Cyndi Lauper and Elizabeth Fraser – and shocking diction mean the lyrics are often incomprehensible, whole syllables getting swallowed. But the best moments are magical: Never Gonna Love Again pulls off the unlikely trick of sounding like This Mortal Coil soundtracking an 80s Tom Cruise movie, equal parts mystical and blindingly obvious.
Lykke Li: I Never Learn review – one-paced but often lovely set of ballads
Michael Hann is a freelance writer, and former music editor of the Guardian