Lykke Li - I Never Learn
Swedish songstress Lykke Li returns after three years with her third album I Never Learn. While the deep percussion and Li's 60s girl group vocals are still in evidence, we find her in gentler and more introspective form this time around.
Chronicling the aftermath of a bitter break-up, many of the tracks deal with what comes after - that deep, aching hurt that is left behind when all the crockery has been smashed and the bags have been packed. While the background is wistful and sad, the pain is etched into the lyrics, a broken heart very obviously on a sleeve: "Lonely I, I'm so alone now / There'll be no rest for the wicked / There's no song for the choir / There's no hope for the weary." ('No Rest For The Wicked')
Elsewhere, from the beautiful title track to the gospel flavours of 'Heart of Steel' ("Oh my heart don't break the promise / Every time I pay the price") I Never Learn speaks of a woman steeling herself from more heartache, defying love to ever enter her life again. This resolve is particularly evident in the album's highlight 'Never Gonna Love Again'. Though her words may speak of her intention to keep love at bay, the fragility of her vocals, enveloped in the shimmering arrangement, give a sense that such promises may be hard to keep.
Lykke Li has channeled her grief into to something beautiful, a stunning break-up album that will resonate with anyone who has ever had a heart. From all those tears comes catharsis and for us, one of 2014's best albums to date.