First impressions are always key, especially for an artist. That is why in the past, turning on the TV to MTV Hits at 6 in the morning allowed for a simple variety of music. Unfortunately artist Zara Larsson gave off one of the worst impressions with the standout – and abhorrent sad-anthem “Never Forget You,” with UK electro pop producer/singer MNEK. Its wrought with simple deviation into nonsensical base pop was not all that pleasing for the ears. Thankfully Zara Larsson has matured, both as a writer and singer, to deliver an array of elegant dance-pop on her sophomore effort Poster Girl.
The way pop has modernized the disco sound within the past few years have been reminiscent of 20 years ago when pop stars took those same disco grooves and modernized it into a new electro dance pop hyper wave, turning out a unique array of pop stars. A lot of these artists today, like Zara Larsson, have blended the two into a unified and beautiful hybrid. It’s part of the underbelly that have made Poster Girl a definitive shift and overall fun delivery in 2021.
Zara Larsson has always been able to shy away from conventional bubblegum-synth-pop like trends and elevate her artistry by weaving contagious hooks/choruses within finely mixed production. However, Poster Girl starts opposite of this with a very lackadaisical pop track about love, but as the subsequent track eases with a slightly decadent and simple flow/verse from feature artist Young Thug, it starts to get the momentum going. In keeping with an ongoing pop trend of disco resurgence, the underbelly of these two tracks and the rest of the track list have illustrious disco-sounds that elevate the overall final product.
Poster Girl excels when it has clear direction in the construction from front to back and start to end. Tracks like “Poster Girl,” and “WOW,” counter two various dance-pop/disco trends with the former creating that boogie-down vibe and the latter has a deep emotional synth pop-like gravitas. Though the similarities may only keep it at the type of groove each embody, the way the album seems to embolden these sonic themes is followed by an awe expression from earlier haters, like myself.
The strongest work, on Poster Girl, comes from tracks “FFF,” and ”Ruin My Life.” “FFF,” embodies these lush disco overtures throughout the BPM shifts and vocal transitions aligning with the production’s transitions. The verses have this insane and uproarious funkadelic horns that shifts into dance-pop choruses, allowing an effervescent stew to cook in the ears. “Ruin My Life,” is one of Zara’s catchier tracks on the album and productions use of hi-hat overtures that intertwine with lowly piano keys are out of this world.
Poster Girl doesn’t deviate as much from its sonic focus and unfortunately that caused some production to falter in derelict simplicity, like “Stick With You.” The BPM is at near average for the kind of dance-pop the album evokes, but it is nothing more than just a simple percussion pattern and boring vocalizations. This happens a bit on other tracks like “Love Me Land,” and “I Need Love;” the latter of which adds some weird robotic distortions from a poorly thought out use for autotune.
Poster Girl amasses a quality – fuel doses of fantastic dance/disco-pop tracks that bring forth catchy choruses and elegant production. It has it’s hiccups, but there is enough to add to any dance mix and keep the party going.