In the buildup to Larsson’s fourth album, the Swedish pop star variously described Venus’s 12 songs as “super fun”, “dancey” and a “collection of really good music”. If that sounds like faint praise, it’s also a neat way of distancing herself from pop’s current penchant for retroactively adding layers of meaning to songs constructed for eliciting simple pleasures. For Larsson, “super fun” pop is quite enough.

So the deliciously camp wakeup call to a love-blind friend You Love Who You Love struts around a playful, sugar rush chorus, while the elastic Can’t Tame Her is essentially a leg warmer-sporting reworking of Blinding Lights. None of These Guys, meanwhile, counts the ways in which Larsson’s man is better than the sadsacks trying to get her attention.

The excellent, Danja-produced Ammunition aside, it’s when Larsson gets earnest that things start to falter. Nothing cribs too readily from Rihanna’s 2010-era balladry, while Larsson’s full-bodied delivery jars with Soundtrack’s soft strings. She’s better setting those emotions to big floor-fillers, as on End of Time, which peaks as a desperate Larsson belts “until the end of fucking time!” For that sense of pent-up release, Venus works perfectly.


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