On the back of her collaborations with Icona Pop (“I Love It”) and Iggy Azalea (“Fancy”), Charli XCX has been propelled into the mainstream. Having proven herself as an artist who can write and sing pop hits, the 22-year-old was tasked with replicating the success for her second studio album “Sucker”.
The opening title track acts a middle finger and a “told you so” to the producers who doubted her validity as an artist, as Charli XCX yells: “You said you wanna bang / well f**k you, sucker!” over an up-tempo beat. There’s a tongue-in cheek aggression, which is highly reminiscent of Gwen Stefani in her heyday.
This “I don’t give a damn” attitude is a theme that runs throughout the album. Bratty pop-punk anthem “Break The Rules” (the second single to be taken from the record) is an unlikely blend of grunge and trance with a highly infectious chorus (“I don’t wanna go to school / I just wanna break the rules”).
Sucker also features Charli XCX’s latest Top 10 hit “Doing It (ft. Rita Ora)”, which cleverly blends early 90s R&B with synth-rock. The album also includes the Hertfordshire-born’s breakthrough solo single “Boom Clap” – a combination of tender lyrics and an electro-pop vibe.
The album is the result of a number of producers and songwriters including Patrik Berger (Robyn, Icona Pop), Rostam Batmanglij (Vampire Weekend), Pontus Winnberg (Miike Snow, Rachel Stevens) and Andrew Wyatt (Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson).
Despite the sheer assortment of co-writers, Charli XCX (real name Charlotte Aitchison) manages to effortlessly switch between the various styles conveyed, including the hip-hop styling of “Gold Coins” and the full-on pop rush of “Die Tonight” (which has a “Trainspotting”-esque vibe).
Charli XCX (which stands for “kiss Charli kiss” – her old MSN Messenger handle) certainly has the ability to write a strong power-pop chorus with a snappy hook. “I never thought I’d be living in the USA / doing things the American way-ay-ay”, she sings during the super-energetic “London Queen”. The track, which bears a strong resemblance to Kim Wilde’s “Kids in America”, is eloquently stitched together with an acute pop sensibility.