The 22 year-old Norwegian artist, Sigrid, has proven before that she is capable of producing, to put it simply, power-pop perfection. Her 2017 single, “Strangers”, almost feels as if it was designed to be listened to while dancing alone in a bedroom. The blend of forlorn songwriting and pounding, rapid-fire synths made for a fun and easy to grasp, yet well-written piece of flawless pop.
With her debut album, Sucker Punch, the forlorn songwriting continues, along with the juxtaposing upbeat presentation. For a majority of the album, Sigrid is lost. She pulls a page out of the playbook of Carly Rae Jepsen, creating an album revolving around almost being in a relationship. It is on the cusp, but there is something holding her and/or her romantic interest back.
On the title track, Sigrid sings over bouncy, almost Pharrell-like production about what she thought was merely a fling, but now is being hit with a “sucker punch” of feelings for said fling. On “Mine Right Now” she speaks on the feeling of dread knowing there is a very real chance that her current relationship will meet an end, mixed with the devil-may-care attitude of living in the moment and enjoying it while it is here rather than dwelling on it.
Later in the tracklist, there are songs such as “Don’t Kill My Vibe” that hold a much stronger air of self-confidence, telling whoever may be heckling her, whether it be critics, or an ex, to let her be happy doing what she loves. The song immediately following, “Business Dinners”, follows a similar theme, with lines such as “Standing on the shoreline/I just wanna swim and float”. Sigrid is more than her promotional material, despite what the industry surrounding her may lead the public to believe.
“Never Mine” is a night-driving anthem with it’s dark synths and spacious percussion. The repetition of the phrase “you were never mine” in the chorus adds to its lonesome atmosphere.
The album closes with the piano ballad, “Dynamite”. The vocals on this track have a subtle echo, that, when mixed with the lone piano, creates an image of Sigrid alone on a stage singing into a microphone. A single spotlight shines over her while she sings to a dark, empty auditorium. The songwriting of this album closer is possibly the most alone Sigrid ever feels on “Sucker Punch”. She is alone and she realizes that is likely by her own faults.
Overall, the album is very much made for dancing. It’s made for dancing to while cooking dinner or cleaning the house. It demands the listener get on their feet and not sit down until the whole thing is over. Its flow is smooth, although it contains a few missteps along the way.
“Level Up”, sandwiched between two bombastic bangers “Don’t Feel Like Crying” and “Sight of You”, sounds like an attempt at simplicity and quirk, but only tends to break up the momentum of the album, never building towards anything meaningful. “Business Dinners” is another instance of an idea that was not truly fleshed out. The multi-phase chorus feels bloated, taking up a vast majority of the song. It’s clunky and suffers from not containing the same staying power as any of the other songs on the tracklist.
What is there to get out of Sucker Punch? If there is one statement that could be said about Sigrid, it is that she can write a sticky chorus. Track after track, she manages to write a fun hook that could easily get stuck in anyone’s head. The slight downside to hooky song after hooky song is that the general song structure is rarely veered away from. These are fun songs, there is no denying that, but they do not offer much in the way of innovation, meaning that some listeners may wear thin on this tracklist after a while.
Sucker Punch is clean-sounding, but it isn’t sterilized. It does not come off as manufactured, as all of Sigrid’s emotions are expressed with passion and honest vocals. Sigrid has almost perfected the emotional mindset of “dancing in the rain.”
What one could hope for from her, though, is that she takes more risks within her dance/synth-pop style while simultaneously staying true to herself. But until then, there is a lot to love on Sucker Punch.