Album Review: Icona Pop – This Is… Icona Pop3 min read
Icona Pop’s highly anticipated debut album is here; but don’t worry – This Is… Icona Pop lives up to expectations, and is ready for you to grab a hairbrush and dance around the living room to.
Formed in 2009, Swedish duo Icona Pop stood out from the crowd by producing a fresh sound which incorporates electro, punk and indie pop. The group consists of Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo, who say they create music “which you can both laugh and cry with at the same time”. Signed to TEN Music Group, they broke through worldwide with their single I Love It, and in just three years, have built enough of a following to play to a crowd of 20,000 at Madison Square Garden.
Icona Pop’s distinct music is said to have, “Huge futurist sounds, soaring emotions, dancefloor confessions, unabashed honesty [and] fierce friendship.” I put This Is… Icona Pop to the ‘soaring futurist’ litmus test – and got very positive results.
The album starts with the duo’s smash hit 2012 single I Love It featuring Charli XCX. Peaking at number two on the ARIA single chart, I Love It has sold more than 4 x Platinum in Australia. Globally, I Love It peaked at number three on the US Billboard chart, selling more than two million copies and in the UK, the song went number one on the Single Charts a year after it was released.
I Love It is the reason many people will invest in the album. It’s edgy, crazy and anthemic. It pounds in your ears and makes you want to jump around screaming the chorus “I don’t care!” (Pop genius – who doesn’t love shouting that?) But this song is the start of list of tracks offering pulsing beats and athemic lyrics.
For example, another standout track is Ready For The Weekend – which carries on that electro synth sound of I Love It. The hook is a computerised voice and when it first enters, you know you want to turn the track up loud. Another great track is Then We Kiss. It’s the last track on the album and is cute and bubbly. It features an electric kind of kazoo noise to spice up the chorus, and is one of those ‘dancefloor confession’ songs.
The single used to promote the album is Girlfriend. The track takes a line from Tupac’s Me and My Girlfriend, better know from Beyoncé’s Bonnie and Clyde (feat. Jay-z): “All I need in this life of sin is me and my girlfriend”. Apart from being so much less gangster, this take on these lyrics is beige, probably because it doesn’t soar to the must play heights of I Love It or Ready For The Weekend. Using it as a lead single is a bit silly, as there are multiple other tracks which could have served that purpose.
One track that could have promoted the album better is On A Roll. It starts with a catchy “do-do-do” and keeps that I Love It sensibility with the duo yelling at us accompanied by a pounding beat– albeit with a slower underlying tempo. Actually this slower tempo works with the sound to complement it, and pull it in a new direction. When you listen, you say, “This is new, but also familiar and catchy”.
In the same way that La Roux grabbed onto an original sound and used their debut album to explore it, Icona Pop plays with and solidifies their ‘iconic’ sound in This Is… Icona Pop. The similarities between the tracks are obvious, yet wanted, so it doesn’t get boring. The album is perfect for the dance floor, car, bedroom or poolside – anywhere you can sing along loudly.
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