Zara Larsson - So Good
Zara Larsson doesn't sound like your typical 19 year old pop star. She's unabashedly feminist, highly political and never at a loss for words in interviews. This sophomore release So Good has the Swedish star leaning in hard on the R&B and Pop sound that is in heavy rotation these days. There is an element on this record that feels like a paint by numbers situation. Female empowerment anthem? Check. Trappy Love song? Check. So on and so on, but where as someone like Meghan Trainor feels like she is constantly pandering this record is much more organic if not kind of calculated. That is a hard thing to shake when doing pop music because you want to make it have mass appeal, but trying to exploit a sentiment that is in the ether is just super lame. You will also find a very heavy Rihanna influence on the record never more clear than on "Only You". When she brings up touching herself and the tropical house beat flows around you you cannot help but think perhaps this song was originally meant for Rhi Rhi. MNEK features on "Never Forget You" which also comes across as some kind of Jack U Justin Bieber imitation. You get that sense a lot on this record where a song has the beginnings of something great, but never fully comes together into a cohesive and direct strike. She sort of hovers around the real meat of a song without ever getting straight to it.
This also cause an issue of sustainability. Because these tracks feel like they are chasing something rather than creating it on their own you can see this music quickly becoming dated. "Ain't My Fault" actually sounds like it belongs on her previous album as a turn up bonus, but here it never really fits. Even the ballads on this record never really fit in and stay at this really kind of pitchy one note. There are many times where Larsson sounds great, but she just sounds like everyone else. For someone as sure of themselves in real life We need that same strength to transfer to the record. "Funeral" is the one song that really goes out there on an interesting idea about the death of a relationship. However this interesting writing just comes a little to late in the game to really make an impact. There is a lot to love here, but also quite a bit to turn your nose up at. Like a lot of sophomore releases we'll have to chalk this one up to a bump in the road and wait for the real stunners later.
6.0 out of 10