Swedish singer and songwriter Zara Larsson unveiled her Poster Girl album on March 5. The singer’s third studio album encompasses themes surrounding love and its innocence, compassion and drawbacks, though it falls back on odd stereotypes among other factors that render the album tasteless.
In Larsson’s “What Happens Here,” the absence of a substantial bridge is especially apparent. Similar to the other titles on the album, the song pauses where a high vocal or beat boost could enhance the song Then, it continues on the same track as before.
Likewise, the song sponsors unethical non-consensual activities between partners. Singing of being intimate, Larsson almost conveys she doesn’t care about what her partner wants, rather saying “I’ma do it because I want to.”
In another scenario of being brutally out of touch with mainstream culture, Larsson’s title “Right Here” sexualizes LGBTQIA+ women through the lens of the male gaze.
In the song, Larsson mainly finds conflict with a partner ignoring the other. The lyric “two girls in a bed would never get your attention” relies on wrong stereotypes associated with marginalized women.
Also, despite holding the title of the album, the “Poster Girl” track is not too special in the crowd of songs readily available. Despite allowing a groovy experience, its “holy smokes” line weakly is applied to the uppity, groovy beat.
Although potholes pop up in multiple songs, when Larsson shines, she is a star. “Look What You’ve Done” supplies the listener with a spitting song for all the toxic and rude exes of the world through its powerful bridge and vocal stretches.
The song adds violin ambience at the beginning as well, adding a classical vibe that speaks of finding lively success after an unsuccessful relationship. The title essentially turns the other cheek with a smug smirk.
Larsson utilizes the iconic piano ambience in “WOW.” The song is unique in itself, with a catchy “make your jaw drop-drop-drop” line–an addition unconsciously akin to Big Freedia’s “mix it, mix it, mix it” line.
Though not necessarily catchy, Larsson’s “I Need Love” contains wonderful vocals that overall accentuate the title’s denotative message. The bridge brings out the song with surprising bangs that resurrect it towards the end.
Interestingly, the songs further packaged into the album truly reflect the theme in all its loving nature. The build ups are generally decent with bridges that are superb. Though, it is quite shocking the first titles don’t stick out the best.
“Love Me Land” delivers on high notes, though the background music drew a lot of anxiety from me. It screams of bloody murder and euphoria at the same time, and that combination typically isn’t exactly comfortable.
The next piece “Talk About Love,” featuring Young Thug, drives the same problem as the first title. The beat is bumping up and down like a confusing Candyland story, but the collaboration is intriguing considering Young Thug’s vocals are more soft and reserved.
All in all, the Poster Girl album contains powerful moments, but these moments do not define the majority of the titles. The crowd of songs is constituted by weak bridges and, at its worst, stereotypes that mislead what “love” is truly supposed to be about.