By Erica Russell
Love is the “röd tråd”– literally, “red thread,” a Swedish expression significance throughline– on Zara Larsson’s brand-new album. Whether it’s hazardous infatuation, distress, self-love, or the happiness of burgeoning romance, love serves as the thematic connective tissue at the heart of Poster Lady, the Swedish vocalist’s sophomore full-length record, out today (March 5).
” Love is this universal thing that people want to listen to and speak about and simply surround themselves with, which is entirely easy to understand,” Larsson, 23, tells MTV News. “It’s something many people can relate to emotionally. That’s what music does; it’s why we put on unfortunate tunes when we’re sad. You might think it doesn’t make sense, because it makes us even sadder, but by listening to a sad tune, at least for me, I feel comprehended, like somebody else out there is actually sad, too.”
The album opens with what might be a lyrical manifesto, leaning into Larsson’s love fixation with negligent abandon: “Never ever believed I would enjoy again/ Here I am lost in Love Me Land.” “I do not think I’m never ever not in love,” she says, confessing that she always has a crush on somebody and likewise rather enjoys being the things of another person’s affection.
Earning love has never been much of an obstacle for the multi-talented performer. At age 14, Larsson was signed to her first record label in Sweden, just 4 years after enchanting the public with her effective, crystalline voice on Talang, a Swedish TELEVISION talent program. (She was only 10 when she won the 2008 season.) Not long after, she signed an agreement with Impressive Records in the United States. In 2017, she launched what she considers her launching album, So Excellent, which included her struck tropical house-influenced single “Lavish Life” and the sweeping Tidy Bandit collaboration “Symphony.”
The Zara Larsson who debuted globally almost half a decade ago, when she was “still incredibly young” and a little not sure of herself, is really various from the positive pop star she is today. I’m an individuals pleaser, so I just wanted everybody to be pleased.
Another thing that’s changed for Larsson is how she sees herself as an artist.
She re-recorded almost every tune on the record “2, three, even 4 or five times” just to get the sound.
“I feel like women think that they’re offering something up when they have sex,” Larsson says.
The song was influenced by an experience Larsson had with her first-ever sweetheart, back when she remained in school. He informed her he wouldn’t tell anyone if they made love, triggering confusion. “I get that he was attempting to be great, however the core of that is an issue, because whatever I do, I do due to the fact that I wish to do it. If I’m a ‘ho,’ then you’re a ‘ho,’ since we just did the exact same thing. However as I got older, I recognized that the world doesn’t take a look at it like that. I don’t agree with that.”
Larsson’s feminist point of view (the vocalist is passionate and outspoken about females’s rights, in addition to LGBTQIA concerns and racial oppression) is splashed throughout the art work for Poster Girl The cover sees Larsson relaxing dreamily in a neon-pink bedroom, an attractive poster of herself pinned up on the wall over her shoulder. It’s a poignant statement of both self-actualization and self-love– a young woman welcoming her own power, success, and fate, in spite of our culture’s insistence that ladies’s self-admiration is vain or vapid.
Poster Girl was technically completed at the start of 2020, however the pandemic caused Larsson and her group to hold off releasing the record, optimistically thinking things would be “back to regular” by last summer season. Larsson adjusted to running from another location and with a much smaller sized team in tow, shooting a more “minimalistic” treatment of the “Love Me Land” video with Vivi Huuska, a director who worked virtually from Finland. (” She appeared like Plankton’s better half, Karen, from SpongeBob — simply a little face on an iPad,” Larsson shares.)
Like many individuals, Larsson faced the stillness and isolation of quarantine, a struggle enhanced by her typically active, travel-heavy schedule as an artist. “I simply rested on my couch for all of2020 It was actually cozy the very first week but after a while I was like, ‘What’s my function?’ I was a little lost in the sauce.” That aimlessness made Larsson recognize simply how inseparable she ‘d become with her identity as a musician: “I believe a lot of people who work in home entertainment went through that. You associate yourself with your work. I thought I was going to be creative and compose tunes and start producing in quarantine, but I didn’t do that. And after that I felt guilty about refraining from doing it.” Larsson’s sister, Hanna, was ultimately able to drag the singer out of bed. “She ‘d be like, ‘Go on a walk!’ I didn’t have anything to do and I actually required a regular.”
Larsson studied at the Royal Swedish Ballet School in Stockholm when she was younger, an experience she credits with helping her establish a sense of discipline. “When you begin doing ballet by the bar, you do the exact very same workouts over and over and over again. The only thing that really alters is you include some additional steps. When you’re just beginning, you can’t do ‘Swan Lake’ immediately. I found out that you got ta be disciplined and you got ta do the repeatings to be good at something.”
In the clip, Larsson and her real-life sweetheart, Swedish-American dancer Lamin Holmén, carry out a mesmerizing dance as Larsson sings about not wanting to destroy the minute by talking about their sensations. The couple’s chemistry is kinetic, rupturing offscreen through intricate choreography as the set entwine and move around each other, ebbing and streaming in between minutes of tender intimacy and explosive, intense passion– a visual metaphor, no doubt, for the butterflies-in-your-stomach stage of falling in love.
” I enjoy to dance at my programs, but now we do not have programs,” she says. “So I resembled, ‘You understand what? I’ll put [dance] in my ‘Love Me Land’ and ‘Discuss Love’ videos, so individuals can still see that.” Above all else, Larsson considers herself a performer and, with a handful of European shows currently arranged for the summertime ahead, she’s looking forward to getting onstage and in front of her fans as soon as again. In the meantime, there’s Poster Woman “Even if only two individuals purchased [my new] album, I ‘d be like, ‘Helpful for you,’ due to the fact that it’s an excellent fucking album. I can’t think I’ve been in the market this long and I’m just bring out my second album, however I’m really happy with it.”
- Zara Larsson