Indeed Alma is in a cohort of singer-songwriters who have entered the game of “club smashes” and “dance hits” with individuality. Certainly, it is not surprising that she has previously been featured alongside Charli XCX (she sings the catchy-as-can-be chorus for ‘Out of My Head’), nor is it shocking that Dua Lipa invited her to perform in a one-time, club-princess power group on BBC Live Lounge. Not that she can be equated to either of them, or anyone else. Her brand of music is unique: empowered electro-pop, as confidant and fluorescent as her highlighter hair.
In the wake of the dizzying success of her single ‘Chasing Highs’, Alma has released a mixtape: Heavy Rules. Alma’s unapologetic attitude is made apparent on the opening track, ‘Legend’, on which she emphatically shouts ‘Legend for Life! Legend for Life!’ One would be forgiven for initially thinking the song was Alma indulging her success; that she had given into over-sung tropes about being famous and taking jets to rich-people places. But the track is really about the excitement of partying with friends, whether you are Alma in Helsinki or David in Slough. The tone is a well-honed balance between euphoric and relatable.
The first feature appears on ‘Dance for Me’, with MØ. The dance track includes a relaxed beat set against flourishing vocals which, importantly, aren’t overly computed. This ensures that they both come across as authentically talented singers and not robots, the hamartia of the electropop genre. The tempo speeds up for the second Scandinavian feature, ‘Good Vibes’ featuring Tove Styrke.
The penultimate ‘BACK2U’ has the most interesting production on Heavy Rules. It is sinister and well paired well with the only real conflict on the project. Alma struggles to align her life back home and her life on tour. This is the first insight into her interior life and future projects would benefit from more personal exploration. The mixtape ends on a collaboration with Kiiara, an ascending star herself. The song, ‘Chit Chat’, is much more sensual than its predecessors. Alma whispers in melodies, creating an intimate atmosphere. It is a strong end to a well-performed mixtape.
Listen to the Mixtape in full here: