“PLAYGIRL” review: The hyperpop fantasy of Lolo Zouai’s dreams


Courtesy of Pitchfork

Dajah Saul, Social Media Coordinator

French-Algerian singer Lolo Zouai recently debuted her sophomore album, PLAYGIRL, to the world, while continuously making her way through the music industry. Playing with sounds of hyperpop and smooth R&B, Zouai displays a new sound while still paying homage to her debut album, High Highs to Low Lows, released back in 2019.

Zouai, with recently being one of the opening acts for Dua Lipa’s tour, announced her second album as a way to show the more exciting aspects of her personality, wanting to leave her feelings of prudence and anxiety in the past. With recently trending on Tiktok from a song on High Highs to Low Lows, “Desert Rose,” Zouai’s announcement for her second album was met with heightened excitement for the experimental project.

PLAYGIRL is filled with strong, experimental pop songs alongside dreamy ballads that results in a well-balanced second album. While promoting PLAYGIRL, Zouai marketed various sections of the album under three different personas: Playgirl, Dreamgirl, and Partygirl. Her persona of Playgirl is exceptionally shown through her third titular single, “pl4yg1rl”, speaking of Zouai’s signature phrase and the joys of being her true, exciting self. Other honorable mentions include her second single, “Blur” and ending track “Free Trial.”

When presenting as Dreamgirl, hints of R&B and bedroom pop are sonically displayed in songs “VHS,” “Tamagotchi (intermission),” and first single “Give Me a Kiss.” Zouai sensually presents her personality to the world in an appealing, aesthetically-pleasing manner with this persona. Zouai’s Partygirl is the most fun and creative of the personas, as aspects of a young party life in France and New York show through fourth single “Crazy Sexy Dream Girl,” “Gummy Bear,” and “Picking Berries.” With her previous album containing more solemn, serious elements of Zouai’s life and family dynamics, Zouai’s choices as Partygirl shows a new perspective of her decisions since the release of her debut album.

These three personas may not be as distinct throughout the album as initially intended, but Zouai leaves it to her audience to distinguish the songs while still enjoying her new sound.Zouai’s airy, delicate voice alongside her authoritative, direct lyrics adds a distinct sound to her new catalog of music while also displaying a bold attempt of experimentation for a second album. 

Listening to PLAYGIRL, I found it quite apparent that Lolo Zouai is not afraid to finally share her happiest moments and more of her personality with her loyal fanbase and new listeners alike. As a fan of hers for nearly three years, I can happily say that this album is a fun, new joyride to experience.

PLAYGIRL is a fantastic, bold attempt at revamping her sound for a larger, more excited audience. For a second album within this day and age of the music industry, PLAYGIRL by Lolo Zouai avoids the stereotypes of artists “playing it safe” within a follow-up to their debut album. 

“PLAYGIRL” is now available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music.

Illustration by Ariel Landry
Illustration by Ariel Landry