Personnel: Lykke Li (vocals); Mariam Wallentin, Amanda Hollingby Matsson (vocals); Greg Kurstin (guitar, electric guitar, piano, organ, Mellotron, keyboards, drums, percussion); Bj”rn Yttling (acoustic guitar, sitar, zither, piano, Mellotron, Moog synthesizer, electric bass, percussion); Rick Nowels (acoustic guitar); Anders Pettersson (electric guitar, steel guitar); Thomas Tjarnkvist (electric guitar); Erik Arvinder, Ketil Solberg, Conny Lindgren, Andreas Forsman (violin); Erik Holm , Christopher ™hman (viola); Cecilia Linn‚, Leo Svensson (cello); Calle Olsson (synthesizer); Lars Skoglund (drums, percussion); Lasse M†rt‚n (percussion, drum programming); John Eriksson (percussion).
Audio Mixer: Lasse M†rt‚n.
Recording information: Decibel Studios; Echo Studio; Ingrid; Los Angeles; Music And Words; Sonora Studios; Stockholm; Studio Spegeln; The Green Building.
Photographer: Josh Olins.
There has always been something captivating about Swedish singer/songwriter Lykke Li. From the minimalist mix of icy electronics and playful indie pop of her 2008 debut Youth Novels to the weightier, percussive anthems on 2011's Wounded Rhymes, she has flexed her considerable creative muscle but never quite managed to dial in on a sound that would define her. She manages a tunefulness that aspires to great pop heights, yet retains the wintry austerity of her Nordic roots. On her third album, 2014's I Never Learn, she manages to meld both of those assets into a beautifully crafted set of lonesome break-up ballads. Like a snowbound version of Beck's Sea Change, the album gets sad and personal on somber tracks like "Love Me Like I'm Not Made of Stone" and "Sleeping Alone," which count among some of the sparer arrangements. Co-producing with longtime collaborator Bj”rn Yttling (of Peter Bj”rn and John), Li has built a true Wall of Sound around her songs, adding enough reverb to last the rest of her career. Most of the time this works well, with excellent tracks like "Just Like a Dream" and the huge pop ballad "Never Gonna Love Again" reaching for the skies with anthemic choruses that could very well vault her into the pop stardom she's been flirting with for years. It's not a particularly warm album either in tone or delivery, and there remains the feeling of being kept at arm's length even as Li spills her heart out. But perhaps that unattainability is part of her allure. 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. ~ Timothy Monger
Rolling Stone - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[W]ith melancholy songs full of heartbreak, disillusion and redemption. Some of them are almost anthems -- 'Love Me Like I'm Not Made of Stone' delivers gloriously raw emotion."
CMJ - "[E]very track on this album is relatable and takes us on an emotional journey through the steps of a breakup..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.92) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "I NEVER LEARN is about the songs themselves..Her voice cracks with emotion throughout the album's scant 33 minutes."
Paste (magazine) - "[T]his is the kind of pop music that's been sadly missing over the past few years. Pop music can, and should, go a little deeper than a lot of it does, and Li does a great job in that respect."
Pitchfork (Website) - "I NEVER LEARN is both spartan and expansive; it's Li's most ambitious and shortest album....This is widescreen drama meant to hit with direct and precise impact..."