Charli XCX: Sucker Pop


A noisy, synths buildup, leading to the sound of a flatlining patient, and then, an EXPLOSION of sound underneath the very mature, sage like lyrics:

“You said you wanna bang

Well, fuck you, sucker!”

And with that burst of punkish, ‘Up yer twat” bravado, CHARLI XCX begins her second album, SUCKER.  It is definitely more aggressive than any other pop album out there (including her debut release),

And yes, while that balls to the wall sentiment is sparsely presented throughout the album, the overall feel can be described as extremely safe and sterilized.  Whenever there is a burst of rawness, it is immediately cocked blocked with uber-produced beats and tame choruses, as is the case with the opener:

“Oh dear God, do you get me now, do you get me now, oh, you do?
Wow you’re awesome
Oh dear God, I’m a killer now, I’m a killer now (killer now, killer now, killer now)”

(I don’t know what the f*** is going on with this exchange here, but it seems pretty flaccid, whatever it is.)

Regardless of the overall neutered sensation of the title track, it is still an enjoyable ride, and gives me some hope that this album may have something to offer other than the rote bubblegum shit we always end up hearing.  Unfortunately, it’s not long before her true colors reach the surface.

The second track, “Break the Rules”, is plagued by a similar fate of ill penned lyrics:

“I don’t wanna go to school,
I just want to break the rules,
Boys and girls across the world,
Putting on our dancing shoes,
Going to the discotheque,
Getting higher, getting wrecked,
I don’t want to go to school,
I just wanna break the rules”

Avril Lavigne used to say the same things, and everyone thought she was so raw and edgy, except my boss @tonightatdawn, who knew she was a hack before everyone else – what a revolutionary).

Tracks like “Boom, Clap,” completely cut the legs out from whatever vibe she is trying to achieve.  Such sugary pop nonsense was what I initially expected before hearing the opener, so I was doubly let down when this song hit the speakers.

“Doing It” is a decent enough poppy track, buuuuuut, thats about it.  Rather than filling the beats in with, you know, actual, lyrics, MS. XCX prefers to fill time with such ditties as:

“The beat goes on and on and on and on and (and on and on and on and on)”

“You are the light and I will follow,
You let me lose my shadow,
You are the sun, the glowing halo,
And you keep burning me up with all of your love

There are some minor guilty pleasures to be found if you stick around long enough.  “Body Of My Own” and “Hanging Around” are pretty catchy numbers.

Look, I understand that this form of music can be abstract in its meaning, and can be typically nonsensical lyrically, and while this release does have some interesting sounding tracks, as a whole Sucker falls a bit flat.   Charli XCX is attempting a more rock pop form of music, which is commendable on the surface, (even more commendable is the fact that she has writing credits on every track; something you don’t see that often in this genre) but effort is only good when the content is somewhat listenable, and Charli and her adolescent, bratty facade will grate in due time.

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