Sigrid – ‘How To Let Go’ review: rocky riffs and jumbo hooks indebted to The Killers

The 25-year-old pop star teams up with Bring Me The Horizon on a cathartic and deeply sincere record that sees her explore more "organic" sounds

Sigrid is a master of the skyscraper chorus. The Norwegian musician broke through in 2017 with ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ – a pop banger so dynamic it could have been waving a placard – then underlined her rise with 2019’s super-catchy debut album ‘Sucker Punch’. This accomplished follow-up also features a generous selection of soaring choruses. ‘Burning Bridges’ and ‘Thank Me Later’ are so epically catchy, they make dumping someone sound kind of uplifting. But, crucially, ‘How To Let Go’ also sees Sigrid expand her shimmering synth-pop sound in ways that feel measured without being tentative.

The 25-year-old has described this album as being more “organic” than ‘Sucker Punch’ because it features prominent basslines and more live drums. It also features a smattering of guitar-driven tracks including ‘Risk Of Getting Hurt’, which is underpinned by a punky riff played by Sigrid herself, and ‘Thank Me Later’, an absolute bop that’s definitely indebted to The Killers. Generally, there’s a real sense of confidence to proceedings. Only an artist who’s having fun would write a song like ‘A Driver Saved My Life’, a witty tribute to Uber drivers that riffs on the title of an ’80s club classic by New York funk-poppers Indeep. The slinky ‘Mirror’ is a fun excursion into Dua Lipa-style nu-disco territory, while ‘Bad Life’ sees Sigrid team up rather unexpectedly with Bring Me The Horizon. It makes sense that she met the Sheffield rockers at Reading Festival last year, because ‘Bad Life’ is a festival anthem in-waiting.

There are also moments of striking intimacy here. ‘Last to Know’ is a sparse piano ballad about wishing your ex well when you fall in love with someone else. It might just be the most generous break-up song since Robyn‘s ‘Call Your Girlfriend’. Partly inspired by Nick Drake, the folky ‘Grow’ finds Sigrid grappling with her journey from self-confessed “homebody” to globe-trotting pop star. “Movies and hotels, got one foot out and one foot in,” she sings wistfully.

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Even when her lyrics flirt with cliché – “it gets dark so I can see the stars” – Sigrid sings them with such infectious sincerity that she gets away with it. If ‘How To Let Go’ is an album about embracing life in all its chaotic and contradictory glory, it’s surely a testament to its success that the record feels so life-affirming. Like the best pop music, it feels like someone’s reached out to say they know exactly how you feel.

Details

Release date: May 6

Record label: Island Records

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