Release Date: Mar 8, 2019
Record label: Island
Refreshingly youthful and age-appropriate, Norwegian singer/songwriter Sigrid's debut Sucker Punch captures the spirit of being a young adult navigating life and love while embracing the messiness of growth, making mistakes, and learning the ropes along the way. Landing in early 2019 after a couple years of steadily earned attention from singles "Don't Kill My Vibe" and "Sucker Punch," the album features Sigrid's empowering synth pop anthems punctuated by moments of reflective restraint that showcase her powerful vocals. At times joyous, at times pensive and full of heartache, Sucker Punch is simply full of life and its accompanying highs and lows.
In the six years building up to the release of her debut album, Norwegian singer Sigrid has built up a musical CV so polished that it's almost suspicious. Winning BBC Sound of 2018, debuting at Glastonbury, impressing TV audiences globally and collecting over 500 million listens on streaming platforms… the list goes on and on, with the singer's profile only set to rise higher with support slots for George Ezra and Maroon 5 in the diary. With all this before even releasing an LP, it feels like the music industry is holding its breath to see if Sigrid can really live up to the almost insurmountably high expectations it has placed on her.
Since winning the BBC Music Sound of 2018 and releasing her Top 10 smash Strangers, there has been a slow-burning hype surrounding Sigrid. The 22-year-old from Bergen is cast as part Birdy, part Jess Glynne and part Rae Morris and the results on her debut album Sucker Punch are really rather exciting. The title track opens proceedings and does just what it says on the tin.
The Norwegian superstar-in-waiting comes good on a debut album laden with potential chart bangers, flexing the edgier side of her likeable pop persona In recent years we've seen pop stars evoke a time-honoured strategy on their rise to the top: kill 'em with kindness . Look at George Ezra, the Nicest Guy In Pop Music™, whose wholesome appeal stretches from a cult youth fandom through to the most precious cohort if you want to dictate the album charts: your parents. Even some of indie's biggest crossovers in recent years have attempted to digest the new power dynamics in music by appealing to that very audience.
Sigrid has a talent for making sadness and rejection sound as jubilant as possible. 'Mine Right Now' is an euphoric bop about trying to live in the moment in a relationship that ultimately has no future ("It's alright if we don't end up together / 'cause you're mine right now") ; 'Never Mine' is a lament about a relationship that never was, but it's synth-led and ecstatic, even if it's one of the album's most lyrically average ("You were never mine / but I see you all the time"). Her 2017 breakout hit 'Don't Kill My Vibe' was about feeling belittled by some older men during a writing session; 'Business Dinners' is much in the same vein, written as a response to her experience meeting with labels in London as a teenager in the process of getting signed: "You just want me to be pictures, numbers, figures, I'm just trying to be me," she asserts.
Sigrid's ruthless ambition has taken her right to the top. The Norwegian star won the BBC Sound Of 2018 poll, and set about demolishing the rulebook, releasing bop after bop as she racked up more than 400 million global streams. But she's not just about numbers. What's carried Sigrid so far is her electrifying pop touch, those searing vocals and a lyrical touch that translates the everyday into something truly magical.
T hough perhaps overmuch critical mileage has been made of young Norwegian Sigrid's tendency to - gasp - not wear much makeup, it's hard to deny that in toxic times, the clarity of her fresh-scrubbed sound really is a wholesome blast of fresh air. Strangers is the keynote song of the former BBC Sound Of winner's debut: winsome melodies, arrestingly authentic lyrics, jagged electro-pop synths arcing into euphoria. Bravely, she's left off other previous hits - no Plot Twist or the powerhouse High Five - but there's plenty to match them.