In 2010, Lykke Li joined El Perro Del Mar for a stripped-down version of “Change of Heart” from her fellow Swedish artist’s gorgeously melancholy album the previous year, Love Is Not Pop. Co-produced by Rasmus Hägg, one half of Gothenburg-based slow-groove juggernaut Studio, the LP version still entrances, a gooey melange of piano and bass — Swede-pop monarch Robyn’s strobe-lit “Rakamonie” remix, too. But something about the unplugged Lykke version of “Change of Heart” has made it a perennial go-to, four minutes of strummy, unvarnished but immaculately crafted heartache.
It isn’t clear whether the singer born Lykke Li Zachrisson, too, has been helping put that old YouTube video over the 100,000 views mark, but the first full offering from her upcoming album I Never Learn, due out May 6 in North America via LL/Atlantic, is built from the same sturdy stuff. “Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone” is a slow, emotionally charged plea, just Li’s deep, quaking vocals over squeaky acoustic guitar — the flesh and blood is there, but the melodic sense and the aesthetic savviness to present it this way are still pretty rock-solid. The video, directed by longtime visual collaborator Tarik Saleh, is of a piece, rotating around a distraught-looking Zachrisson and nothing else.
Björn Yttling (of Peter Björn and John), Greg Kurstin, and Zachrisson herself produced the full-length, planned as the third in a trilogy with 2008’s Youth Novels and 2011’s Wounded Rhymes. In a statement to Pitchfork, Lykke said: “Every song on the album is a power ballad. Like one of those old radio stations. This is a slow dance; a slow burner”; check out the song’s lyrics here. Co-signed since her first singles by leading Swedish pop ambassadors like Yttling and, again, Robyn, muse to mixtape Drake and pre-Goblin Tyler, the Creator — and SPIN cover star a few years — Li still somehow always comes across as a self-possessed outsider. Here, she may be heartbroken, but happily she hasn’t had a change of heart.
I Never Learn track list:
1. “I Never Learn”
2. “No Rest for the Wicked”
3. “Just Like a Dream”
6. “Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone”
7. “Never Gonna Love Again”
8. “Heart of Steel”
9. “Sleeping Alone”
Lykke Li tour dates:
April 24 – Stockholm, Sweden @ Berns
April 27 -Brussels, Belgium @ AB
April 29 – Berlin, Germany @ Astra
April 30 – Munich, Germany @ Kesselhaus
May 2 – Cologne, Germany @ E-Werk
May 3 – Utrecht, Netherlands @ Tivolivredenburg
May 6 – Paris, France @ Trianon
May 8 – London, England @ Village Underground
May 9 – London, England @ Village Underground
May 15 – New York City, NY @ Apollo Theatre
5/19 Los Angeles, CA @ The Theatre at the Ace Hotel