Lessons to Be Learned is the debut album by Australian singer-songwriter Gabriella Cilmi, released in the United Kingdom on 31 March 2008 by Island Records and in Australia on 10 May 2008 by Mushroom Records. Co-written and produced by the team Xenomania, the album takes its title from a line in the song "Sweet About Me", which became a worldwide hit.
Speaking in July 2008 to Pete Lewis of the magazine Blues & Soul, Cilmi explained the meaning behind the album title:
I guess the title 'Lessons To Be Learned' has always been a line that jumped out from the single 'Sweet About Me'. Plus it kinda sums up the whole experience for me, because I've been recording this album for three years - I started when I was 13! So, during its making, I had to learn so many things! I moved from Melbourne to London last year. So I had to learn how to communicate with adults and just get my opinion across really fast, as well as learn just basic everyday things like how to catch tubes!
Several different versions of the album have been released with varying track lists, without there being one edition including all released tracks. On some early printings, "Messy" was not included. Tracks such as "Round and Round", "Sorry" and "Warm This Winter" were included as bonus tracks on only some editions of the album. A track titled "Sad Sad World" appeared only on a promotional UK version of the album.
Lessons to Be Learned received generally mixed reviews from critics. Sharon Mawer from Allmusic called it "a good debut album" and praised Cilmi's "confidence" and range of styles, however did not feel the album was original, saying "it had all been heard before, many times in a crowded market". Mawer also compared her vocals and styles to artists including Anastacia, Joss Stone, Kylie Minogue, and Duffy. Daily Music Guide gave the album a generally mixed-to-negative review, calling "Sweet About Me" "slightly irritating" and also noted "if you expected ["Sweet About Me"] to give you a preview of what her debut album might sound like, you would be wrong". "Save the Lies" and "Sit In the Blues" were considered highlights of the album, while "Awkward Game" and "Einstein" were criticized for having "too much gloss".
Mike Joseph from PopMatters considered Cilmi an Amy Winehouse clone, yet without "a fraction of the wit or lived-in soulfulness that Back to Black (or even Winehouse’s debut, Frank) possessed." and said he found himself "praying Lessons to Be Learned will end quickly". He highlighted "Safer" and "Sit In the Blues", but compared Cilmi negatively to fellow artists such as Winehouse, Adele and Duffy. Jake C. Taylor of Sputnikmusic gave the album a generally positive review, summarising "With an excellent blend of pop rock, jazz, blues and soul, Lessons to Be Learned is fun, engaging and wonderful listen from an upcoming star, whose vocal techniques are simply wonderful." He, however, criticized Cilmi as having little that separates her from her competing peers.