Refreshingly youthful and age-appropriate, Norwegian singer/songwriter Sigrid's debut Sucker Punch captures the spirit of being a young adult navigating life and love while embracing the messiness of growth, making mistakes, and learning the ropes along the way. Landing in early 2019 after a couple years of steadily earned attention from singles "Don't Kill My Vibe" and "Sucker Punch," the album features Sigrid's empowering synth pop anthems punctuated by moments of reflective restraint that showcase her powerful vocals. At times joyous, at times pensive and full of heartache, Sucker Punch is simply full of life and its accompanying highs and lows. Sigrid tackles uncertainty and self-doubt on "Basic," which drops out toward the end to reveal a vulnerable, imperfect peek behind the curtain. Later, she faces her problems instead of running away on the indie pop power move "Level Up." This confidence and maturity imbue Sucker Punch with plenty of charm, which lends itself to upbeat highlights such as "Don't Feel Like Crying" and "Sight of You," a pair of '90s throwbacks that channel Carly Rae Jepsen's best. Elsewhere, Robyn's electro-heart beats on "Strangers" while "Never Mine" provides an unlikely pairing to Taylor Swift's "Style." The album is primarily concerned with these beat-forward standouts, even while the poise and gravity of Sigrid's lyrics add depth to its dance-friendly nature. That sheen is stripped away for two key moments on Sucker Punch where her voice takes center stage, pushing her empowering messages of self-respect and inner strength to the fore. Echoing Adele in both instances, "In Vain" is for anyone who's ever wasted time and energy in a futile attempt to save someone, while "Dynamite" triumphantly closes the set with the content realization that self-worth is more important than a failing relationship any day. It's a simple joy to hear an artist in her early twenties sing songs that are so relatable and timeless while remaining unblemished by label-endorsed hyper-sexualization or tired tropes of fame. Sucker Punch is a masterful debut from a promising talent unafraid to just be herself.
AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung