Lykke Li is what I would like to classify as one of those diva singers with the big voices and epic love songs who always seem to be originating from the other side of the pond. For some reason, they are almost always foreign-born and not here from the US. Think Florence and the Machine. Think Bat For Lashes. Lykke Li is cut from the same cloth, in her case, being from Switzerland. She differentiates herself from these other singers in that Li has always had a more folksy eccentric side, a by-product of having Bjorn Yttling (of Peter, Bjorn, and John of Young Folks fame) as a frequent producer and songwriter. Still, with her first two records, Li has established a track record of singing dark and haunting atmospheric love songs that will easily stick to your heart.
With Li’s newest record I Never Learn though, a key shift has emerged. Though I Never Learn is considered by Li to be the ending piece of her three album trilogy that began with Youth Novels and Wounded Rhymes, and though she still collaborated with Yttling for the record, I Never Learn feels fundamentally different from her earlier records. Maybe it is because the record came about a period when Li just finished a difficult break-up within her personal life, but I Never Learn has shed away the folksy leanings of its predecessors. Instead has become an album that is unabashedly fully within the torch song category. In other words, I Never Learn is Li’s big breakup album.
Even though it only runs at around half an hour, I Never Learn never feels short. This is because the whole record is full of songs that just projects hugeness. Layers of guitar strums run over sparse melodies give background to Li’s big soprano voice, laden here with reverb. The whole album is anthemic and epic. It’s bold and uncompromising and full of Lykke Li singing these lovelorn sad songs that just breaks your heart. And I love it so much for that.
Watch the video for the single No Rest For The Wicked embedded below.
Lykke Li – I Never Learn comes out 5/6 via LL Recordings (order here)