Release Date: Mar 17, 2017
Record label: Epic
Genre(s): Pop, Electronic, Pop/Rock, Dance-Pop
Living up to its title, So Good -- the sophomore set from Swedish singer Zara Larsson -- arrived after a two-year promotional rollout that followed the release of her debut, 2014's 1. Her slow climb toward the upper pop strata occupied by Rihanna, Sia, and Tove Lo -- the artists whose vocals Larsson most closely echoes -- began in 2015 with the quadruple-platinum number one single "Lush Life," an effective dose of tropical pop that rides the surf with a playful whistle and undeniable bounce. Quickly following with the skittering staccato of MNEK duet "Never Forget You," Larsson scored another hit.
Zara Larsson matters because she's a new pop star with an exciting voice, both literally and figuratively. When she sings, the 19-year-old Swede sounds youthful but not too pure - like she spent last night having fun in the club, not practising vocal runs in her bedroom. On social media and in interviews, she shuts down bigotry and calls out bulls**t.
A s a pop star, 19-year-old Swede Zara Larsson is a refreshing proposition - a politically engaged feminist unafraid to upset the status quo. There are flashes of that big personality on second album So Good - the blunt, Rihanna-esque ode to sexual fulfilment, Only You; Make That Money Girl's heartfelt celebration of female success - but a handful of its 15 tracks feel like an exercise in Spotify-friendly box-ticking. Sundown adds to pop's current obsession with tropical house, while I Would Like is a good song without a proper chorus.
The record's main shortcoming is that it already played its best cards early, its strongest moments coming from the five singles that have patiently proceeded it. The international chart-topping lead single "Lush Life" is unforgivingly catchy, and propelled the young singer to prominence in 2015, whilst the follow-up with London's MNEK , "Never Forget You", proved her adeptness at the darker and dramatic side of pop, and showcased her a rhythmic flair in her voice to match her melody. "Ain't My Fault" and "I Would Like" both dropped the emotional sentiment of "Never Forgot You" in favour of sexual desire, though where the latter is more catchy and collected ("I would like to get to know you baby / Like to get under your sexy body), the former takes on a fiery carelessness ("It ain't my fault you came here looking like that / You just made me trip, fall, and land on your lap").