How do you follow up a song called Aerobic Lambada? Well, it’s very nearly an impossible task but naming your next song Holy Bubbles is as much as you could ask for. And it’s a really good song. Stretching our minds back we seem to remember maybe having some doubt about Robyn’s taste in the first signing to her Konichiwa Records label but that has been proven to be foolishness on our part as Zhala has got better with every release, and her debut, self-titled album, out May 25, is now a very exciting prospect. Holy Bubbles continues her one-lady exploration in cosmic pop with what we think could be pan pipes in the verses and her biggest chorus to date. We should have known someone Robyn deigns to take under her wing would never let us down.
Making a comeback in the same week as another Swedish Eurovision representative Loreen, who won it, when you’re notably the only ever Swedish entrant not to make it to the final is a bold move. But one listen to the song and it’s clear that this whole comeback is bold. There’s none of the wispy acoustic guitar stuff that Anna showed us in 2010 in Oslo (although we rather liked it). This is a powerful, electronic feminist anthem that gets us slightly giddy with inspiration. The lyrics pull no punches: “Can we talk about it? The fact that I’m a pain when I question the norm. The fact that your paycheque is always bigger than mine. The fact that I’m a slut when I’m taking you home and a prude when I don’t. How you hate it when I’m taking care of business.” It’s matched with urgent beats and flurries which only get more urgent as each new layer comes in. This is a real attention-grabbing, brilliant song that would sit perfectly on Jenny Wilson’s recent highly political Demand the Impossible album, and, we have to say, out of the two Swedish Eurovision comebacks this week, we know which one we vastly prefer.
We haven’t long stopped swooning over How Does It Feel?, but we’re still more than ready for a new single from Julia Vero, and it’s good news if you like perfectly crafted pop songs. If How Does It Feel? was the immediate, reflective aftermath of a relationship, this is the part where you move on and go out and get drunk and get up to all kinds of mischief. It’s on the rockier edge of electronic pop with a guitar riff and drug-referencing lyrics that, if you squint a bit, is like the punk pop cousin of an old Queens of the Stone Age song. It’s premiered over on Musikguiden i P3 so point your browsers this way.