A lovely evolution that points the way towards a bright future for an enduring artist with a lot of goodwill
The title of Nina Nesbitt’s latest album Älskar translates from Swedish to love in English, and it’s a title redolent of the simplicity and purity of emotion that adorns the Scottish singer-songwriter’s third record, the follow-up to 2019’s The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change.
Despite her obvious talent Nesbitt has found herself frustratingly on the margins of a genuine pop breakthrough over the last decade, but has obtained a following of devoted fans that have sustained her as she has developed her sound from straightforward acoustic pop to a more evolved and expansive palate. This album sees her moving in a more overtly tasteful electronic pop direction, and from the yearning wholesome embrace of Teenage Chemistry it feels like a good fit.
There’s more personality on show on tracks like the knowing and gently playful No Time (For My Life To Suck) that should strike a chord and feel in step with the prevailing pop culture and the kind of raw and intimidate songwriting of the latest generation of singer songwriters like Holly Humberstone, while emotionally rich ballads like the lovely I Should Feel A Bird and Older Guys, a sad and emotionally illuminating track reflecting on the trauma of some of the relationships of her youth, provide the open hearted and honest core of the record.
Despite the frequent beauty of the heartfelt confessionals that are most emblematic of the record, it’s when Nesbitt adds a little more dynamism to her sound that the album sparkles most. Limited Edition is a wonderfully vivid piece of glitchy electronica that complements one of her most creative melodies. Think the more accessible and melodic pop end of Caroline Polachek‘s sound. Just a bit of weirdness like this and a more warped sensibility would go a little to bringing out yet more textures and intriguing aspects to Nesbitt’s assured songwriting.
Despite the classic approach of most of the songwriting here there’s no doubt that it’s a step up in quality for Nesbitt and the result is her most assured and confident collection of songs yet. Sometimes it can take a long time for artists to truly find their peak and reach all of their potential, and it’s to her credit that Nina Nesbitt has managed to navigate the choppy and uncertain waters of the music industry to be thriving and making her best music almost 10 years in. Älskar is a lovely evolution that points the way towards a bright future for an enduring artist with a lot of goodwill.