Lykke Li: I Never Learn review – one-paced but often lovely set of ballads


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.


Michael Hann

The GuardianTramp

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