On her fourth studio album, “Venus,” Swedish singer Zara Larsson comes full circle, demonstrating her ability to connect commercial hits with intimate love ballads. With “Poster Girl,” her first album since 2021, Larsson successfully demonstrates her creative confidence and clear direction for her music.
Seven years after working together on the breakthrough song “This One’s For You” in 2016, Larsson reconnected with hit-maker David Guetta for the new project, bringing in a number of elite producers and songwriters to refine the sound. On “Venus,” Larsson’s vocals are bright and the arrangements are elegant. The new album also presents a polished debut into the pop realm that is sure to catch the attention of many listeners.
Album Cover Art
Zara Larsson is showing off major skin on her new album cover, as she poses completely unclad for the photoshoot. Luckily, her long flowing blonde hair covers some of her upper bits but leaves out her “H” tattoo, while she manages to hold some shimmery object with her long, artificial finger nails, to cover her crotch.
Tracks and Features
“Can’t Tame Her,” the first song, hits all the right notes and explodes with energy and an irresistible infectiousness. The song’s opening lines combine an A-ha and The Weeknd vibe, which intensifies into the chorus. It gets a slight punky edge with the chorus’s screamed backing vocals.
Larsson quickly swings to the other extreme with “More Than This Was,” a slow-burning, melodious pop song. The song explodes into the rhythmic throbbing beats of the chorus as the beat lowers, replete with opulent synths and Larsson’s synchronized vocal.
“On My Love,” a Guetta collaboration, is an intriguing blend of simple sounds. Larsson’s vocal style has a blues and R&B influence. The expansive, rising synth lines that crescendo into the chorus are a unique touch added by the French DJ and producer. The lively anthem is perfect for getting the club’s dance floor moving, as one might anticipate.
The subdued “Ammunition” has a stronger minimalist bent. Although it’s not a ballad, the beats and synths give listeners a lot more space to move. Wordy verses give way to a chorus that is harmonized and supported by a light tempo. As the song fades out, Larsson’s lyric “give me” is repeated and extended with various voice effects and pitch twists.
One of the album’s standout tracks is the unruly “None of These Guys.” Along the way, there are some somber and gloomy lt-pop sounds incorporated into the full-on pop spectacle. In the chorus, Larsson’s voice shines, and the polished production ties everything together. With all of the components she set out to include in the album, the track has the vibe of a stew. “You Love Who You Love,” which features a hazy synth that sounds like an electric guitar, reflects that life.
“End of Time” has the most balladic feel of the first half of the record, yet it still has a strong pulse. It is distinguished by the way it blends synths, strings, and a variety of distinct personalities. The intricately layered ballad “Nothing” then goes even farther with an orchestral arrangement that sounds like it was produced by Ellie Goulding.
The lighthearted “Escape,” which highlights Larsson’s ability to switch between high and low notes in the lyrics, quickens the tempo once more. This track, too, is based on classic R&B and funk, but it works well as a contemporary pop tune. The unexpectedly complex “Soundtrack” reduces the volume and tone down the pop bombast of the album.
The mid-tempo title tune gives way to the melodious “The Healing,” the most delicate music on the album, which concludes with a message of peace and regeneration.
|Can’t Tame Her
|More Than This Was
|On My Love
|Zara Larsson & David Guetta
|None Of These Guys
|You Love Who You Love
|End Of Time
“Venus” primarily demonstrates that Zara is at her finest when she embraces the vibrancy of her Scandipop roots, fully embodying the pop princess persona while being dreamy and ethereal without holding back.
Austin Corona, Danja, Dave Hamelin, David Guetta, Giorgio Tuinfort, Jack & Coke, johan lenox, John Christopher Fee, Manny Marroquin, MTHR, Rick Nowels & Rob Kinelski produced the project.