Album Review

Zara Larsson - Venus

Aside from being a slight hodgepodge of genres, it’s a lush flex of skill.

Zara Larsson - Venus

Tirelessly playing both Radio-Friendly Main Pop Girl and Underappreciated Pop Craftsman is a tough gig - one that could confuse the artistic direction of most - but on third record ‘Venus’, Zara Larsson balances the simplicity of conveyor-belt pop all while dialling up her ABBA-on-nightcore niche to a hundred. Overarchingly, yes, the former encourages a slightly crowded mishmash of genre - from dance to R&B to balladry - but it’s always opulently executed. Lead single ‘Can’t Tame Her’ treads the ongoing retro synthpop revival, belying a vintage sound for her fourth record that only ever appears once again on its fantastically glistening (and standout) title track. Then there’s a handful of obviously-manufactured-for-success club hits - see the thumping ‘None of These Guys’ and the trancey ‘On My Love’ - that are undoubtedly fun, but a little solitary and directionless. And there’s perhaps one-too-many saccharine ballads, but they do well to pace the good stuff. Primarily, ‘Venus’ proves Zara is at her best when embracing the vibrancy of her Scandipop origins - going full pop princess, dreamy and ethereal, no-holds-barred. The super-cutesy, glittery ‘Escape’; the haunting strings of ‘End of Time’; and the preppy punchiness of ‘You Love Who You Love’ (among others) fill a particular Scandipop niche that never sacrifices on campy, hyperbolic sugary-sweetness. Driven by Zara’s unwavering vocals and energetic delivery, ‘Venus’ is icy, crystallised and super fun - “fit for a goddess,” she says - and, aside from being a slight hodgepodge of genres, it’s a lush flex of skill.

Tags: Zara Larsson, Reviews, Album Reviews

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