***1/2 (out of four)
Enough of Rihanna and Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. The world is (at least, should be) ready for a new pop star.
Based on “Forever For Now,” that star should be LP, whose major-label debut is nothing less than 12 consecutive potential hits. That isn’t to say the record sounds like an artist stretching for chart success and coming up with something pandering and easily accessible. (You hear me, Coldplay?) Rather, LP delivers one catchy pop anthem after another that also serve as well-written, exhilarating showcases for her distinctive voice.
And ukulele playing. She also plays the ukulele.
Previously, LP (whose “Into the Wild” was featured in a Citibank commercial) has co-written hits for artists including Rihanna (“Cheers [Drink to That]”) and Christina Aguilera (“Beautiful People”), but “Forever for Now” proves LP deserves her own spotlight. First single “Night Like This” is both sweet and towering, with hints of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” beneath the singer’s wonderful coo. It’s one undeniable hook on an album full of ‘em—if your foot isn’t tapping, and your windows aren’t down (assuming you’re in a car), you are missing something that requires no attention at all to understand.
Singing about familiar topics (love, time) in non-generic ways, LP’s voice sometimes takes on a Lissie-esque tinge of country-folk, but even symphonically enhanced epics like “Tokyo Sunrise” or jangly, guaranteed smashes like “Free to Love” fit beautifully on an imaginary radio station that simply plays really good songs with broad appeal. Listen to every track on the album (which would achieve greater intimacy without such heavy-handed production), and struggle to decide which to recommend to friends. Then realize you should just promote the entire thing, one of the most striking breakouts of 2014 so far and a set of songs bigger stars undoubtedly will hear and say, “I really wish that would have been mine.”
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