When pop princess Sigrid releases new music, the event is almost holidaylike within the Scandinavian pop music scene. Best known for the singles “Strangers” and “Don’t Kill My Vibe” from her critically acclaimed 2019 debut LP “Sucker Punch,” Sigrid is one of pop’s quickest rising stars.
Sigrid excels by packaging lyricism, dynamic production and engaging visuals into easily digestible three-minute tracks. A good artist knows their audience well, and Sigrid understands that authentic expression as a pop artist is the recipe for creating an engaging musical environment for her audience.
As showcased on “Sucker Punch,” Sigrid likes to keep her listeners on their toes with a wide sonic variety. She uses varying production at different speeds and beats per minute (BPMs) to strategically toy with songs’ energy levels, never allowing the flow of a track to stagnate. For example, Sigrid starts “Sucker Punch” with a literal pop sucker punch of 166 BPM on its eponymous title track, but by her third song, “Basic,” the rhythm has slowed down to a still fast, but less stimulating, 130 BPM. Throughout the whole album, however, Sigrid slows tracks down using these BPM switches during certain verses to highlight their lyrical content before bringing in pulsating pop choruses as she drives home their intended messages.
Singing about a transitional period in relation to self-perception, Sigrid’s lyrics in her debut LP explore how self-worth is originally greatly influenced by the opinions of others but hopefully becomes self-defined with age. The coming-of-age theme of this album is akin to Britney Spears’ 2001 single “I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman.” Although she may not have lived her life in the limelight like Spears, Sigrid still similarly explores her young adulthood as a female, often feeling ambushed by the unexpected hardships of “adulting.”
This transitional stage explored in “Sucker Punch” feels as though it has come to a natural conclusion by Sigrid’s first single in two years, “Mirror,” which she released in May. The song stands out as the most self-liberating piece in her discography. On the surface, “Mirror” seems to be another formulaic pop song, but with its explosive lyrics and soaring vocals, the track allows Sigrid to bulldoze through what on her first album appeared to be a wall of adolescent insecurities.
“Mirror” is Sigrid’s natural artistic continuation, as it sees a culmination of emotion after she finally begins to define her own self-worth initiated in “Sucker Punch.” The feelings of self-acceptance expressed in this track demonstrate a confidence from the artist in her own talent that was buried in her earlier work.
Through this track’s confident lyricality and beat, it truly feels like Sigrid has finally learned to accept herself completely — physically, artistically, emotionally and romantically. The song is an empowering musical second act, and when paired with the vibrant wardrobe choices and impressive choreography in its music video, “Mirror” leaves quite a lasting impression.
Following up on the success of “Mirror,” Sigrid released what I deem to be her career highlight so far, “Burning Bridges,” in August. A perfectly crafted pop song that details her newfound wisdom surrounding the give and take of relationships, the song is lyrically formatted as a cautionary tale against engaging in relationships with narcissistic partners. In the chorus and bridge, Sigrid utilizes the repetition of the simple yet impactful lyrics “You cry, they don’t / every single night / that’s how you know” to highlight red flags in these types of relationships. The song is absolute pop perfection as it manages to weave an interesting and relatable message into a song that can get anyone dancing.
“Burning Bridges,” coupled with “Mirror,” shows Sigrid has comfortably grown into her skin, embracing her struggle with self-acceptance that began on her debut LP “Sucker Punch.” Sigrid is yet another hidden treasure from the pop music gold mine of Scandinavia, which showcases that intimate and stirring pop music is far from extinct as seen through the maturation of her work.