After her breakout international hit, “Speechless,” with artist Robin Schulz, Erika Sirola has become one of the most popular pop stars in Finland. Although she has not put out a proper record, until now. But her new EP with Elektra Records, Who?, proves that she might just have the goods to carry the title.
In the same vein as Billie Eillish’s Happier Than Ever, Sirola injects her alternative pop songs with old school charm and smart self-awareness. And hooks for miles. It opens with “All In My Head,” a sweet reflective song, with touches of Imogen Heap’s electronic harmonies and a snappy beat. “Is it all in my head? No, no, no.” It’s a good question, when you find yourself thrust into the spotlight, wondering if the position you’re in is merited. Though the song could apply to any number of different circumstances.
“The way you look at me / And tell me everything that I’ve wanted to hear / But why can’t I see it?” It is a love song, and a life song, dealing with feelings of self-doubt or self-hatred. Trying to grapple with the acceptance that comes from those around you that love you. “I keep running from the real things / Cause I’m afraid to feel things / I need to find a way to heal things / And stop falling apart,” goes the more rapid bridge. And plenty of people at her young age could relate. To the confidence, the desire, the crippling doubt, and the redemption.
The second song is equally as emotional, a piano ballad something like Regina Spektor might write. It’s a bitter sweet song: “At the end of the day / You go / And I stay.” With a Regina Spektor-worthy lyric, “I make no mistakes / Only total disasters.” Her songs are expertly-crafted and the lyrics rise to meet the occasion.
The third song, “Souvenir,” has a Billie Eilish growl to it (and an alternative arrangement worthy of an Eilish comparison) and is the perfect metaphor for a relationship that is failing. “Make sure to bring me back a souvenir / So I remember all the times you weren’t here.” By the end, she clears the shelf of the souvenirs and takes her life back, “Sorry my collection’s pretty full / I thought I’d make some space for my own stuff / See I’m wanting to live again.” The magic of well-written songs like these is the real-life application, and she gives her listeners the self-respect that they need.
The last song, “A Little More,” is a chill bedroom pop number about seizing the day. “Played it safe / Took no bets / Stay inside when it gets wet / Staying uninvited,” she starts the jam. But the chorus picks up, in list form, and names all the things that she’d like to see in her life: love, money, adventure, and so on. I don’t think Sirola will be “uninvited” for long, with her heart-on-your-sleeve, tap-into-the-zeitgeist songs on this impressive record. That is, if her listeners are ready for her indie-alternative sound. If they are on board, I think there’s no way but up for Sirola.
Order Who? by Erika Sirola HERE
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