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Song You Need to Know: Zara Larsson, ‘Ruin My Life’

20-year-old pop star’s latest single captures the allure of wanting to be in a bad romance

Zara Larsson at the Queens of Pop Festival in Sweden, 2018

Zara Larsson at the Queens of Pop Festival in Sweden, 2018

IBL/Shutterstock

Simplicity is harder and harder to come by in pop music, but simplicity is often more effective than anything. On “Ruin My Life,” 20-year-old Zara Larsson proves that with a straight-forward, thrilling piece of stadium pop.

Larsson’s latest single starts delicately as she pines for someone who wasn’t that great to her in the first place. The song unravels through the chorus; she wants them to “ruin my life” and “fuck up my nights” as the sound grows bigger, leading to an adrenaline rush of a pre-bridge riff.

While the subject matter is not quite so happy, there’s something idyllic and lush about the way she performs it, like she’s trying to convince herself that maybe the ghastly desire to be with someone who has hurt you is almost kind of romantic. The concept feels heartbreaking, but the packaging perfectly puts to music the gut-butterfly-inducing feeling of realizing that you can’t live without this person.

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