• Hina Janjua

Zara Larsson explores the complex workings of love, heartbreak, and relationships on ‘Poster Girl’

“If summer love had a soundtrack, it would be the Poster Girl album.”

Zara Larsson’s third studio album is here, long-awaited after the success of her previous album, So Good, which held some of her most successful singles - “Never Forget You”, “Ain’t My Fault”, and “Lush Life.” So Good was released in 2017 and was pure pop goodness with a few ballads and tropical house beats sprinkled in. Following So Good, Larsson released a handful of stand-alone singles and featured on tracks for artists like BTS, leaving fans eagerly waiting for a full-length album. Larsson began releasing singles for her new album in 2018 with “Ruin My Life” and “WOW,” but ultimately postponed it to re-record and bring it closer to Larsson’s standard of perfection. It was worth it.

Zara Larsson explores the feeling of falling in love, entering a new relationship, and handling heartbreak in her new album, Poster Girl. Larsson brings an interesting juxtaposition of sound and emotion to this synth-pop album. Poster Girl is surprisingly void of any ballads or slow tracks, yet is filled with songs about pain, heartbreak, and lyrics that hit you right in the chest. The tracklist is slathered in captivating beats and dance tracks and carries a significant storyline, starting with “Love Me Land,” in which Larsson harmoniously croons about reluctantly falling in love. Written by Julia Michaels, Justin Tranter, Jason Gill, and Larsson herself, this track is a perfect introduction to the album. The song holds a clubhouse beat throughout, only to be dramatized with background violins, further emphasizing the epic descent into love when one has been adamantly avoiding it.

In the following track, “Talk About Love,” lyrics like “Love always blows up in your face and love always goes south in the worst ways,” are easy to miss when infectious pop beats are blessing your earbuds. The album carries on with songs that reframe painful breakups into empowering pop perfection (“Look What You’ve Done”) and closes out with “What Happens Here” in which Larsson finally accepts love but maintains her independence and self-confidence as an individual who is not defined by her relationships.

If summer love had a soundtrack, it would be the Poster Girl album. Working with lyrical legend Julia Michaels, Larsson takes full advantage of her signature singing style and flow, one that was arguably the reason for the success of her single, “Ain’t My Fault.” Similarly, the track “FFF'' combines Larsson’s melodic flow and Michael’s impeccable ability to create the perfect song structure. “FFF” has become a fan favorite off of the Poster Girl album, holding all the summer vibes needed to get through the upcoming months.

While the Poster Girl album emulates a similar sonic style to So Good, Zara Larsson has cemented this space in the pop world for herself and is thriving in it. Fans of Larsson often compare her to the likes of pop queens like Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga. In an ever-growing music scene, fans can find comfort in artists like Larsson who find ways to remain genuine to their sound as well as amplify it each time around.


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