Is Sigrid’s ‘Strangers’ great pop?

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By Jack

Norwegian singer Sigrid is officially The Next Big Thing. We were told so by the BBC in their Sound of 2018 poll. Add to that performances on the the One Show & Graham Norton, prominent features in the NME, Guardian and (for some reason) the New Statesmen: truly the definitive publication on europop.

It’s been something of a media blitz and Sigrid’s coronation appears finalised with the release of ‘Strangers’, which has already become a minor hit and looks set to become a major hit if the trending chart is anything to go by.

If Sigrid is to become a rising talent in pop then we are all the merrier. She’s quirky, has pipes, is a great dancer, and clearly has her own voice. ‘Strangers’ plays to her strengths: sledgehammer chorus, hooky melody, Robyn-hued electropop vibes. However ‘Strangers’ is no slam-dunk. It feels ungainly.

‘Strangers’ possesses a lurching quality that puts you in mind of some clumsy but functional machine, making one awkward leap after another that dissolves the tension where it ought to release it. Compare this to the scandipop smash of 2016 – ‘Lush Life’ by Zara Larsson – which marshals its momentum for a more satisfying payoff.

The essential truth of great pop is it should be seamless. What you have here is verse / pre-chorus / chorus bolted together bulkhead to gunwale. The transition to chorus at the two minute mark needs some serious sanding down.

Sigrid can be forgiven for jumping to the chorus – it’s a great chorus. But unwieldly,  a real braying chorus. Come back to that slegehammer image. After a few listens you start to feel like the nail.

All of this is to say this isn’t great pop, it’ll have to settle for good. We’re just glad to hear something on the radio exceedng 100 bpm.

Interestingly all of the nitpicks and general inelegance that hold ‘Strangers’ back from pop greatness would make it a blinding Eurovision entry. Norway, you’re move.

 

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