Norwegian pop sensation Sigrid returns with her brand new album ‘How to Let Go‘. Her previous album ‘Sucker Punch‘ saw her cement her positioning as a stalwart within pop music, with the album reaching the Top 5 in the UK Charts, a sold out UK tour and a landmark Glastonbury set came shortly after. But with ‘Sucker Punch‘ being such a resounding success, it meant that ‘How to Let Go‘ would have to be her some of her best work yet.
The album opens with the single ‘It Gets Dark‘. Within which we witness Sigrid open up about life on the road, and life away from her home country, a daunting prospect for any twenty-something year old. Lines such as “It gets dark/So I can see the stars‘ and “Gravity can’t hold me down/No not this time” may read as slightly cliché, however when heard, is quickly forgiven thanks to its fantastic execution. The track sees Sigrid display some of the excellent vocal talent she is so well known for, as well as being laced with an absolutely gorgeous guitar piece, in conjunction with a deep rumbling bass feature, that overall gives the song an almost ethereal quality.
‘Burning Bridges‘ is a gorgeous track that simply bursts into life with its cheery synth, but is rather juxtaposed by its lyrics, dealing with the break up from someone who doesn’t love you the same way you love them. With the track delving deep into Sigrid’s personal feelings about her relationships, “I tore me apart trying to hold us together” and “Can’t love somebody who loves burning bridges” help illustrate the pain of the situation the young Norwegian found herself stuck in.
Apparent throughout the album is that making music is truly a healing process for Sigrid, ‘Risk of Getting Hurt’ is a fuzzy track all about facing life despite the risks involved, and whilst not directly mentioned, its clear that the pandemic has had an influence on the album, in fact, it almost seems woven into the very fabric of the album itself. ‘Thank Me Later’ is an upbeat breakup song that deals with the acceptance that things have to come to an end, even if it hurts. Whereas ‘Mirror‘ is a disco-ball self care track not just for Sigrid herself, but her fans as well.
This album in its core feels powerful, the vulnerability Sigrid demonstrates only empowers each song further. Furthermore, Sigrid’s influences are various but obvious in each song, stating that “It’s influenced by a lot of the old school stuff like Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, which I grew up on, but also artists like Elton John and ABBA. Then there are songs that are more disco influenced because I really got into the Bee Gees“.
These influences reflect well within tracks ‘Last to Know’ and ‘Dancer‘, the first of which is a powerful piano ballad, and the latter an almost psychedelic track, with a perfect contemporary use of very ’70s sounding guitars. ‘A Driver Saved My Life‘ also shows more of Sigrid’s disco influences, you certainly wouldn’t be surprised to hear it on a club dancefloor. Perhaps what makes these tracks so great is the originality that shines through, the influences are there, but they don’t lack originality. The next track is the rather anthemic ‘Mistake Like You’, a slow singalong track that also plays host to a stunning guitar solo that compliments the slower nature of the track well, and is surely going to be a popular feature live.
‘Bad Life’ is the latest single, and will have most listeners in confusion upon initially seeing the track listing, the reason being that it features the British metal-rock giants Bring Me the Horizon, a rather odd feature for a pop album. A chance encounter with keyboardist Jordan Fish at Reading Festival last year saw studio sessions booked, with the two of them later joined by lead singer Oli Sykes. These saw sessions saw the birth of ‘Bad Life’, a touching and emotional anthem that seeks to provide the listener with some positive reinforcement, delivered excellently with a wonderful contrast between Sigrid’s clean crisp voice, and Sykes’ more raspy vocals.
The last two songs, ‘Grow‘ and ‘High Note‘ really provide the perfect conclusion for this album, slow acoustic numbers that really brings together the thematic elements of the album with simple instrumentals, and once again we see Sigrid really express her powerful vocals with perfect delivery.
Overall, ‘How to Let Go‘ is an album grounded in honesty and reality, still recovering from the emotional hangover period of the pandemic, the record is somewhat of a soul-searching moment for Sigrid. Each song feels like a cathartic release for both singer and listener, and although the self-care, pick-me-up lyrics wear thin as the album progresses, it still remains an enjoyable listen throughout.