Lykke Li – I Never Learn
The final part of a thematic trilogy that began with 2008 debut Youth Novels, I Never Learn takes Lykke Li’s work a shade darker and a notch glummer – which, when you consider the exposed emotions in past album highlights like Sadness is a Blessing, is really saying something. Written in the wake of an evidently shattering breakup, its tone is pervasively forlorn, with the pleading Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone (“even though it hurts, even though it scars”) supplying its stark centrepiece.
But there’s more to I Never Learn than bruised hearts and despondency. More often than not, lyrical fragility finds its counterweight in bold pop production, with a torch song like Never Gonna Love Again skirting T’Pau terrain (in a good way). As myriad film franchises testify, part-threes are rarely a trilogy’s pinnacle, making I Never Learn a highly impressive (if thoroughly woebegone) exception to the rule. [Chris Buckle]