Dagny, being Norway’s own pop-fueled princess, trailblazes listeners through her intimate journey of love and loss throughout her debut album Strangers / Lovers. The twelve-song collective represents everything extraordinary and idealistic about music in 2020: whimsical synths, sing-in-the-shower worthy lyrics, and anthemic beat drops able to make any festival set transform into the ultimate dance party. Every track is an instant, radio worthy hit; with the potential trajectory this record holds, it’ll be a treat to watch Dagny dominate the charts one single at a time.
Split into two distinct halves, the concept album explores the greatest highs and harshest lows of a budding relationship. Featuring previous singles “Come Over” and “Somebody,” the first half navigates through the evolution of maturing love. All the same, its counterpart stresses the hardships of a lover’s quarrel yielding pressure and agitation. The breakup portion is inevitable, but Strangers / Lovers hardly ends on a desolate note.
Beginning the adventure no short of boldness and spunk, “Come Over” sets the true feminine, fun tone present within the album in its entirety. Reading like a teenager’s love letter to a crush, the innocent track finds the songstress asking her lover, “Do you want to come over?” in a chorus of ethereal vocals and an 80s inspired backtrack. Á la Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia, Dagny too teleports her listeners into the best of 70s disco and 80s rave with a modern twist.
Undoubtedly, there’s a consistent, eccentric sound maintaining itself within the first half of the conceptual story. Dagny cleverly leads listeners on with flirtatiousness by making us all fall deeply in love with her teenage dream. Even so, don’t be fooled by the pop perfection amidst the project’s collective aura. The record takes a break from traditional bubblegum-like music upon meeting track six, “Tension.” While still upholding the upbeat tone made irrefutable thus far, the singer examines love with a new sense of darkness. Quite literally, we’ve become engaged in the dreaded “tense” conversations of two lovers drifting apart. Knowing we’re taking a turn into new territory, she begs, “who’s going to break the tension, baby?”
Entering the latter half of Strangers / Lovers “Bad At Love (Interlude)” offers Dagny’s most personal, heartfelt ballad on her romantic expedition. A nice break, we finally hear her soft, angelic vocals against nothing but a piano. It’s the ideal pause for listeners to cease dancing and catch their breath. Despite being the perfect standstill, we’re no less captivated by this artist’s world of passion and lust.
Rounding out the record with a (pleasant) surprise is “Coast to Coast.” The song echoes against the powerhouse vocals of the singer in a wave of beautiful cries that build to a chorus of seamless harmonies. They linger for a moment but ultimately fade away until we’re left with nothing but the sole vocals of Dagny for a final few moments. In an album ridden with so much energy and whimsy, the track is a refreshing ending and a superb close to our lovestruck story.
Already making herself a household name in her Norwegian homeland, Dagny is finally prepared for a global takeover. Strangers / Lovers provides the pop star with an impressive set of ammunition able to annihilate her competitors on the charts. As her first full-length album, she’s set her tone: fierce, fantastical, and spirited. Any top-40 radio connoisseur would deem the record as a “must listen to” for 2020. A Dagny invasion is on the horizon, and we can’t wait for her takeover.