This past weekend had the best vibes. It was warm and sunny, and for the first time in a long time, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus was buzzing with energy and excitement. Every weekend before wallowed in the gloom of COVID-19 and weeks of record snowfall. To celebrate, I laid out on my front lawn soaking up the sun, absorbing the positivity on campus and listening to a new album that totally encapsulated the freeing feeling of the moment.
On March 5, Swedish singer Zara Larsson released her third studio album, “Poster Girl.” Its upbeat, disco-pop sound gives off all the almost-summer vibes and makes me eager for the season after a treacherous winter.
Like most albums by female pop artists in their early 20s, “Poster Girl” is centered around love — all sides of it. The album combines the ups and downs of young love while still maintaining the up-tempo energy of the album. Even the downers on the tracklist are danceable or, as an Apple Music writer described them, sad-bangers.
One of the best sad-bangers on the album is “Right Here.” The lyrics are about a girl who’s overlooked by her significant other despite her best efforts, but the melody tells a happier story. The backbeat of the drums and cymbals is so powerful that you just can’t help but tap your toes and bounce your head to the beat of a near-end love story.
This theme appears again in “Ruin My Life,” which Larsson released as a single in 2018. The song talks about a girl who’s missing a not-so-great guy. She sings about wanting him back — flaws and all. It’s a little less energetic than “Right Here,” but with its electronic sound, it still maintains a happy-but-not theme. It’s not a party-starter, but it’s definitely a calm, catchy beat to end the night.
In the same interview with Apple Music, Larsson commented on her well-known Swedish pop successors, Robyn and ABBA, whose music she said helped inspire the album. Their inspiring influence is heard in the album on songs like “Love Me Land,” “Poster Girl” and “FFF.”
All three of these songs share clear disco-pop qualities. Think “Dancing Queen,” but 40 years into a digitally synthesized future. They are lively, contemporary club tracks with a hint of ‘70s disco that are sure to make you even more eager for the days we can dance less than 6 feet away from a friend once again.
Larsson’s last album, “So Good,” came out about four years ago, and Larsson said making “Poster Girl” was like starting over. She said the length of time between the two albums makes it hard to compare her last album and this one.
It’s a much different world than it was four years ago, and the fresh, freeing sense that this album effortlessly gives off is fitting for the season. We’re on the tail end of a rough, cold couple of weeks, and as we see the snow melt around us, the warm weather and recent vaccine rollout make us hopeful that we’ll soon be able to experience music like this in the way it was intended — with others.
I think this album does everything right. It’s upbeat, catchy and the writing makes these songs relatable to young women experiencing similar emotions to the album. I, for one, cannot wait to listen to this album poolside in just a couple of months.