Norway’s latest, greatest pop export adapts humbly to the spotlight.
Sigrid is a very uncomfortable artist for us to cover. We managed to cover her weeks before she blew up into the public eye with last year’s Don’t Kill My Vibe, and she’s now on a meteoric ascent to the top. With support from Apple Music, feature slots on all manner of television chat shows across the globe and the opening track on last year’s Justice League soundtrack, Sigrid has undeniably made it now.
Despite this, she’s managed to keep herself composed remarkably well. She’s stayed humble and kept her minimalist aesthetic; she doesn’t rely on musical embellishments as much as she does her raw talent, and she still performs in her own, typically unassuming, outfits.
With that, her latest EP Raw seems to be a roundabout analysis of her own character and how she wants to continue to present herself. On the eponymous opening track, Sigrid declares “I just want to be raw” in response to calls for her to play herself up more.
Of course, the context of the song seems to set it against a relationship in which the other person is demanding of the song’s narrator and wants them to be someone else. But there are far too many parallels between that theme and the unique character Sigrid has carved out for herself over the course of her year in the spotlight.
As you might suspect, the feel of the Raw EP is one that feels more introspective than a lot of what we’ve had from Sigrid in the past. The title track is the closest we get to a big, radio-dominating pop hit on this EP. Second track I Don’t Want To Know is a marvellous, string-punctuated ballad that is more downbeat than what she’s given in the past. That said, it’s artistically the most striking song on the EP and the one that packs the most emotional weight.
High Five falls somewhere in the middle, packing energy but generally less impactful than its two preceding tracks. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it feels a bit more of the Sigrid standard than anything truly noteworthy. Arguably the most notable thing is that the narrative at times focusses on the function of the stage, which is the first sign of Sigrid’s shifting place in the world.
While the Raw EP is less consistently pop than the Don’t Kill My Vibe EP, it provides an interesting insight into the evolving situation and maturity that Sigrid finds herself experiencing. It’s a strong release that spins some complexity into the sound of a popstar that prides herself on simplicity.
It might not be an end-to-end list of hits, but Raw confirms that Sigrid is set for pop greatness – on her own terms and without losing sight of herself.