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Heartbreak once again plagues indie darling Lykke Li. Previously, the singer expanded her break-ups into a larger-than-life drama. For her new album, I Never Learn, she wastes no time on fancy tricks, instead keeping her music painfully real and honest and simple.

Instead of following her stylish pop instincts, Li sings stripped-down, yearning ballads that go straight to the gut. Lyrically, she delivers it bluntly, no matter how serious the sentiment. The album highlight, “Love Me Like I’m Not Made Out of Stone,” feels like the most damaged of all. With nothing playing but a lone guitar, Li begs to be loved as her voice gradually breaks down; toward the end, she can barely finish her chorus.

As the album title suggests, the songs come from experience. Though far from invulnerable, Li confronts heartbreak and pain with maturity and perspective. She sounds the most self-assured here, despite this being her most emotionally broken record. In the end, I Never Learn shows a sense of growth for Lykke Li, not just with her music but with her as well.

  • Album: I Never Learn
  • Artist: Lykke Li
  • Label: LL
  • Songs: (1) I Never Learn (2) No Rest for the Wicked (3) Just Like a Dream (4) Silver Line (5) Gunshot (6) Love Me Like I'm Not Made of Stone (7) Never Gonna Love Again (8) Heart of Steel (9) Sleeping Alone
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