Lykke Li has never been a typical pop star, but with her third album, it seems clear that being one isn't something the Swedish singer wants, anyway. I Never Learn opens with its title track, an organized flurry of strings and guitar that sets the tone for an introspective and rather dark record.
Li seems to retreat inside herself on many of the tracks, including the stripped-down "Love Me Like I'm Not Made Of Stone" and the meditative echoes of "Sleeping Alone," but the record is still marked by accessible melodies, and the deep drum beats and haunting Lykke Li wail — made famous on her first two albums, 2008's Youth Novels and 2011's Wounded Rhymes — are still there underneath. It's these songs that stand out, like "No Rest For The Wicked" and "Gunshot," both of which sound distinctively Li and manage to offer something vulnerable and fresh. The album is short, playing end-to-end in just 33 minutes. Each song feels carefully placed, but many end abruptly, leaving something unfinished. I Never Learn is the end of an album trilogy that explores the "intense period" of being a 20-something woman, Li told NME in January. And indeed it does feel like an ending of sorts, or at the very least a graduation, from the artist she was to the one she wants to be. (Atlantic)