Zara Larsson does not reach full potential yet on debut album
Zara Larsson is only 19 years old, but the Swedish pop star is already in the spotlights of her home country for almost a decade. In 2008 she won the Swedish version of Got Talent, but she waited until her 15th to start her proper pop career. After two years of chart success in Sweden, she managed the reach a way bigger audience with her single ‘Lush Life’, which became a hit all around the world. The wait for her international debut album came to an end today when she finally launches So Good.
The album was preceded by a long string of singles, the one more successful than the other. It is kind of ironic that her album is finally launched followed by her least successful and most underwhelming recent single, ‘So Good’. Unfortunately the album follows the same pattern and one wonders why they decided to wait so long with the launch, while they already dropped all the hit worthy tracks as singles. I am not trying to say it is a bad album as a complete body of work, but the wait was just too long to make the rest of the tracks even remotely exciting.
Production wise it is all very contemporary, but also quite predictable. Tracks like ‘Don’t Let Me Be Yours’ and ‘Sundown’ sound very ‘now’ but also follow trends that are already seem to start dying down, which makes me fear the album will not age well and might sound dated sooner than Zara and her team would hope for. At the same time, a track like ‘TG4M’ is irresistibly catchy with a sensual tone and a more subtle production and could be material for a next single release.
The album has a decent amount of midtempo tracks with big melodies. ‘Only You’ has a huge chorus and some excellent vocals, but is held down by lyrics that might have been intended as quirky, but come across as awkward. “I don’t wanna shower, even if I stink”, “Feel you pourin’ through my pores” are just not very attractive or pop lyrics. Feminist anthem ‘Make That Money Girl’ is a lot more interesting in terms of the lyrical themes, but suffers from rhymes that feel forced like ‘hesistant, president’ and ‘evidence, heaven sent’. The flaws continue on ‘One Mississippi’ that has a beautiful vocal melody line in the chorus, but never really rises above cheesy levels of lyricism.
Having said that, on the last tracks, ‘Funeral’ with some well flowing changes of pace, the beautiful and intimate ballad ‘I Can’t Fall In Love With You’ and of course the Clean Bandit collaboration ‘Symphony’ she does show her potential as a pop star. Zara Larsson is cleary still looking for a sound that is her own and while So Good might be a little disappointing, she still has star quality in bucket loads. Her recent medley performances show this off and it will be a matter of time before she releases an album that will do her talent justice.