Album Review: Zara Larsson – So Good

says that Zara Larsson’s made a pop record that deserves to rival Ed Sheeran’s chart domination

PHOTO: Album artwork

Rating:  ★★★★☆

To paraphrase Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come’, it’s been a very long time coming with Zara Larsson’s album campaign. A rising star can only continue to rise for so long – especially when 5 singles come out before we hear word of an album! But fortunately for Zara, So Good was (mostly) worth the wait. Obviously, the first few singles were fantastic – particularly the punchy pop of monster hit ‘Lush Life’ and her masterful attempt at house music with MNEK on ‘Never Forget You’. ‘Ain’t My Fault’ and ‘I Would Like’ also represent the album well, purely for their irresistible hooks. However, when Zara plonked her collaboration with Ty Dolla Sign –‘So Good’ – online, eyebrows were raised. It’s a fun, fizzy pop number, but it also felt slightly bland.

Better choices for single #5 would’ve been two of the album’s standouts ‘Only You’ and ‘Sundown (feat. WizKid)’. The lyricism is slightly clumsy on ‘Only You’, but what it lacks in subtlety it makes up for with a fantastic chorus and a palpable, intriguing grit. ‘Sundown’ feels like the sort of vaguely tropical, carefree uptempo number Rihanna would’ve released in the good old days before ‘Work’ and other questionable #1 singles of 2016. However, whilst ‘Sundown’ sees Zara satisfyingly filling the Rihanna void, other songs are less convincing. ‘Make That Money Girl’ seems to attempt to capture the same spirit, but it ultimately feels trite and banal.

A few other tracks were slightly disappointing – ‘Funeral’ and ‘I Can’t Fall in Love Without You’ were pretty, but also felt slightly flat. However, that’s not to say that this is not still a thoroughly enjoyable pop record, because there are plenty of other great songs to listen out for. ‘One Mississippi’, ‘TG4M’ and the Ed Sheeran-assisted ‘Don’t Let Me Be Yours’ are all worth multiple listens. So Good is far from a perfect album, but in a chart clogged by Ed Sheeran, it’s still a worthy competitor to topple him.

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