I Never Learn

  • Record Label: Atlantic
  • Release Date: May 6, 2014

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
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  1. 91
    The music might seem cold, but when you’re surrounded by it, enveloped in it, it can keep you warm, too, like a glacier cave or an igloo.
  2. Magnet
    May 19, 2014
    There is something effortlessly contagious and opulent about her melodies and cozy rhythmic kink. [No. 109, p.57]
  3. May 7, 2014
    I Never Learn is a brave album--it could very well alienate more fans than it brings in. But Li's songwriting is exquisite in its vulnerability; she has never sounded more sure of her aesthetic than she does in her most miserable moment. Like Beyonce's self-titled LP last year, this is a "grown-woman" album, but one focused on the sobering end of youth rather than the blissful beginnings of adulthood.
  4. May 5, 2014
    Each song feels carefully placed, but many end abruptly, leaving something unfinished.
  5. May 2, 2014
    The nine songs gathered on her third record beautifully convey heartache, loss and desolation. It’s not just in the songwriting--although, that is, of course, wonderful. It’s also in the production.
  6. Apr 29, 2014
    This is 100% bittersweet, but it's honest, it's genuine and we see Li's true colours, hopefully shining back on us.
  7. 88
    A compact, nine-song, 32-minute album that suggests an artist just hitting her stride, Li's new album seems to have pinpointed the locus of power in her voice.
  8. May 5, 2014
    We’re used to breakup albums that assume you just want to crawl into a hole and die, but I Never Learn is for the times when heartbreak is so life-affirming that you want to share the feeling with the world.
  9. Jun 18, 2014
    The words would be perhaps somewhat unremarkable without the grandiose sweep of sonic majesty that surrounds them.
  10. Mojo
    May 15, 2014
    Anyone seduced by the standout Wounded Rhymes track Sadness Is A blessing will be left winded by the even more sorrow-stricken I Never Learn. [Jun 2014, p.92]
  11. May 12, 2014
    Those who had their hearts set on another batch of coy, cloudy electro-pop from the Swedish singer/songwriter might consider the song [Gunshot!] a bummer, but for the rest of us, it and the other eight tracks that comprise I Never Learn make for a stirring, pristinely rendered expression of heartache.
  12. May 8, 2014
    Every track on this album is relatable and takes us on an emotional journey through the steps of a breakup, which in Li’s interpretation seems to be frustration, pain and ultimately loneliness.
  13. May 6, 2014
    Li virtually proves to herself that pop need not be soulless and manufactured.
  14. May 6, 2014
    She sounds every bit the wounded princess, unwilling to let anyone help her pick up the pieces as she delivers these lovely, sad songs from behind a shroud of her own making.
  15. 80
    This is harsh, unyielding stuff, and most of this jolting album contains more the same. On her two previous albums, Lykke Li has been something of a floating presence, but everything about this album is intensely grounded.
  16. Apr 30, 2014
    Though her personal tragedy has been transformed into an affecting record of real beauty, one truly hopes Li’s next chapter isn’t quite so agonising.
  17. Apr 30, 2014
    Just like love itself, it’s an album you will fall for despite (or even because of) its flaws and imperfections as much as the real moments of truth and beauty it provides.
  18. Uncut
    Apr 29, 2014
    You'd struggle to find a more affecting ode to the selfishness of love than this. [Jun 2014, p.80]
  19. May 6, 2014
    [A] taut, intense collection of songs.
  20. May 12, 2014
    More so than Wounded Rhymes or Youth Novels, I Never Learn is a record for a radio-loving crowd who wouldn’t have a problem with the lack of variety in content matter or the relative sameness in sound and composition.
  21. May 7, 2014
    Despite the finality of what’s supposed to be the third installment of a three-part series, I Never Learn promises more in the future as Lykke Li keeps moving along her own singular path, personally and artistically.
  22. May 5, 2014
    It's quite frankly perfect pop, and despite its occasional missteps, that's something Li's trilogy has flaunted in abundance.
  23. May 5, 2014
    Though she's largely eschewing Youth Novels's bubbly synth-pop and Wounded Rhymes's slick power ballads for simpler arrangements and derelict instrumentation, Li still manages to make the ramshackle music of I Never Learn sound grand and, perhaps more impressively, inject a kind of dark romanticism into her depictions of crippling separation.
  24. Apr 29, 2014
    The album's Spector-ish arrangements, thick with multitracked vocals and densely layered instruments, don't always add as much as they should.
  25. May 7, 2014
    When I Never Learn aims for pop, it's the hazy Shangri-Las variety; the melodies are Li's lushest to date, but the smoke never clears around them.
  26. I Never Learn is an album about love, but not a record to love.
  27. 60
    You are either in the mood for this depth of wallowing or you are not.
  28. May 1, 2014
    I Never Learn works best in the smallest doses, despite its brevity, because it's as one-paced as a fading lower-division central defender, and that pace is sluggish.
  29. Apr 30, 2014
    I Never Learn is by no means a failure--the highs are grand when they come--but it has a tendency towards bombast and shallow self indulgence that sees it edge dangerously close to the fringes of mediocrity.
  30. 42
    Heard consecutively, these songs sound disappointingly like one another, and while one good belter about the pain of unrequited love is a blessing, nine in a row turns out to be real drag.
  31. Q Magazine
    May 20, 2014
    As a whole, though, I Never Learn wallows too much. [Jun 2014, p.119]
  32. 40
    “I Never Learn” is a gorgeous opener, its fulsome strum of acoustic guitars graced by strings and backing-vocal cooings in anthemic manner; but from there it’s emotional pain writ large, with wan piano lines supplanted by grand, melodramatic resolutions.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 104 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Jul 22, 2014
    The swedish songstress Lykke Li delivers her most saddest and heartfelt record yet.
    An organic and cohesive set of piece, with one of the
    The swedish songstress Lykke Li delivers her most saddest and heartfelt record yet.
    An organic and cohesive set of piece, with one of the better singel's to face 2014 with "Love Me Like I'm Not Made Of Stone". A beautiful and emotional song featuring loose acoustic guitars and with a raw Li who's voice cracks open for a lover, lyrically about a dying love she's seeing un-touchable in near future. In my opinion, a new topping hit for Lykke Li. A tear-jerker at it's finest, and a much better of it we will not get from this year, surely.

    While "I Never Learn" holds beauty upon it's hands, such as the stand-out "No Rest For The Wicked" where we find Li with intriguing melodies and instrumentals, the latter of it is what the record has it's bigger flaws. At times, over-saturating her voice till it only sees itself being background noise.
    The production is not necessarily bad, at all, I enjoy the stripped mood all through, but with lush instrumentals and the reverb effects, the rawness of the tunes looses the better grit as the previously mentioned highlights of the album had to offer. Lykke Li, herself even has her lower, and less interesting pen-moments as the closer "Sleeping Alone".

    But with that being said, when Li is at her best, as the sweet and most pop-py sounding, sonically and vocally "Gunshot" it is phenomenal and one memorable anthem after another. "I Never Learn" is less technical but more of a simpel straightforward and heartbroken Lykke Li, which is not a bad thing, not her best LP to date but maybe her most enjoyable one.
    Full Review »
  2. May 9, 2014
    Whilst it might technically be her least successful album, this is not a technical album. It's all about heart here, and Lykke proves sheWhilst it might technically be her least successful album, this is not a technical album. It's all about heart here, and Lykke proves she really has one and it's really been hurt. Stripped of all pretensions and tricks, this album is pop music at its purest. Simply beautiful. Full Review »
  3. Sep 5, 2014
    probably my favorite album this year. dark and short, in the years to come this should be known as one of the quintessential love lost albums.probably my favorite album this year. dark and short, in the years to come this should be known as one of the quintessential love lost albums. at just nine songs, each song has its purpose and will not let go of your ears. Full Review »