Tipped by some as a potential superstar of the pop world, Zara Larsson came to prominence in her native Sweden having won a television talent competition. That was nine years ago, and unlike some who rush to capitalise on exposure, this is her first international release. Next month sees a run of North American shows, before a summer of festivals includes slots at Isle of Wight and Wireless.
Remarkably, five of the tracks from this record have already been lifted as singles - but that's not to say anyone purchasing the album is getting short changed, as there are 15 tracks. The opening 'What They Say' is mellow and mid-tempo, before irresistible summer anthem 'Lush Life' provides the first indication that Larsson's hype has some justification. Along with the sassy 'Ain't My Fault' (on which she proves a competent rapper), the songstress produces the kind of crossover quality that makes fans of other genres take note. They're not quite of the ubiquitous quality of a 'Poker Face' or 'Umbrella', but they're not far off.
Where Larsson also excel is in her choice of collaboration. 'Never Forget You' employs the soulful talent of MNEK for a slick duet, while working with Clean Bandit is currently about as close to guaranteeing a hit as you can get. The result here is the dance floor filling 'Symphony'. This isn't to say she can't hold her own - 'I Would Like' is house-infused, while the anthemic 'Sundown' would arguably work better without the vocals of Wizkid. What holds this back from being a stunning pop album is the slower numbers, but when the energy is lifted, Larsson is undeniably infectious.
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