This singer from a tiny town in Norway first broke out in early 2017 with her rapturously cheesed off European hit, “Don’t Kill My Vibe,” the promising work of a then-20-year-old taking advantage of the wide open emotional spaces Robyn and Lorde had opened up in the club. Later that year Sigrid turned in an ace piano-goth take on Leonard Cohen’s synth-doom masterstroke “Everybody Knows,” and she brings a similar moody fearlessness to “Sucker Punch,” the title track from her debut album, out in early March.
Written with Emily Warren (co-author of Dua Lipa’s “New Rules,” as well as songs by Shawn Mendes, the Chainsmokers and others) the song rides crisp hi-hat flutters, tough snare snaps and a woozy bassline into a big, bracing chorus as Sigrid sings about chasing a hard-luck crush against her better judgment, opening with an invitation to meet up for coffee (“both our hoodies red/you’re in my head”) and ending up in knots of a romantic deflation she managed to flip into freedom and catharsis. There’s a playlist worth of impulses and influence in her singing – some droll swagger, some thrushy pop prettiness, EDM diva brass, hints of hip-hop and country and testy teen-pop.
Like so many songs in recent decades to come out of Scandinavian pop laboratories, “Sucker Punch” keeps throwing wonderfully weird little sonic sweeteners at you while still seeming like effortlessly tossed off avant-bubblegum – like the chutes of what sounds like a steel guitar midway through, or the instant of Imogen Heap-y emo-vocoder intimacy or the thrilling bit where the glistening track falls away completely and its just her raw solo voice, lashing out like a sucker punch of its own. “Didn’t want to write a happy song,” she notes at one point. Fair enough. But she wrote a true one.