More about: ALMA
With booming vocals, toxic yellow hair and a rockstar attitude, you’d be forgiven for pigeonholing ALMA into the club-filling hits that saw her reach notoriety. On Have U Seen Her?, however, the Finnish singer opens the door to much more.
Whilst it’s the dizzying, alcohol-fuelled nights that come with sudden stardom which drive ALMA’s debut LP, through the mist the 24-year-old has a fascinating story to tell. Have U Seen Her? is the tale of an artist who won’t fit into any box. On ‘LA Money’, a track the songwriter has had to fight to keep for herself, she struggles with the two-faced world of stardom, musing on famous friends “who don’t even know who I am”. Elsewhere, ‘Nightmare’ opens with ALMA recalling disapproval from friends’ parents, revelling in the slurs whilst admitting that “I’ve got a heart under all the stitches” – earlier this year the star spoke to Gay Times and admitted the hate from Finnish media when coming out publicly as a gay woman.
On ‘Mama’, a startling cry for help to her nearest and dearest, the singer admits that she’s not sure “how much longer I can do this”. It’s a brave confessional that should be the record’s stand out moment, although bizarre electro production compromises what might have been better with little more than a solitary piano. “I’m a very different artist from the one who put out my first single,” she admitted ahead of release, although at times there’s a sense that ALMA can’t quite break away from the dancefloor-shaking hits of ‘Chasing Highs’ and ‘Dye My Hair’ on which she built her empire. It’s hard to get your ears around Tove Lo featuring ‘Worst Behaviour’ at times and the title track is a bumpy ride to kick things off.
When she does keep production simple, the results are genius. On ‘Find Me’ ALMA plays hide-and-seek with a lover in a ballad that is begging to be sung to packed festival crowds with lighters in the air. Both ‘Bad News Baby’ and ‘King of the Castle’ are powered by delicious guitar riffs that showcase the versatility in ALMA’s style and are the record’s most superb moments. Elsewhere, ‘Loser’ begins to bring proceedings to a close on the album with foot-tapping prowess.
As Have U Seen Her? ends, you can’t help but feel closer to the debutant. There’s an endearing quality to ALMA - her refusal to compromise marks her out as an upcoming pop gem to treasure. Her long-awaited first LP may be rough around the edges, but there’s a whole lot of promise here.
Have U Seen Her? Is released on 15 May 2020 via RCA Records/Sony Music.
More about: ALMA