Charli XCX has been a much needed breath of fresh air in the world of pop lately. Never has a lady pop star radiated so much coolness and her knack for a catchy hook or two on some of the biggest hits of the last couple of years – Icona Pop’s ‘I Love It’ and Iggy Azalea’s ‘Fancy’ – as well a ‘Boom Clap’ sized chart topper of her own, has ensured her place as the hit maker du jour both in front and behind the scenes. But how does her second album proper hold up? Well, MP! took a listen to the delightfully titled ‘Sucker’ and did all the hard work for you…
The title track is the perfect introduction to Charli as the bratty, devil may care popstar that she is. It’s a perfect middle finger to the industry, boys and anyone else who happens to get in your way and is definitely not one to be played in front your parents (Ooh er). However, we defy you not to be screaming that infectious ‘F**k you!! SUCKER!!!’ refrain by the time the second chorus rolls around. This is pretty much your new soundtrack to teenage rebellion.
The album is a weirdly brilliant mixture of Madonna esque pure pop, jangly guitar rock ditties and bratty punk pop but it all works surprisingly well. ‘Boom Clap’ remains a total triumph and the Rita Ora assisted ‘Doing It’ remains one of the highlights, like an extra sugary Haim track, and the girl / girl pop star tag team brings to mind Lady Gaga and Beyoncé’s classic ‘Telephone’ from 2011. If this isn’t a ma-hoosive hit we’ll eat our Pharrell sized hats.
Elsewhere the riotous noise pop of Breaking The Rules, London Queen and Breaking Up provide the perfect background music to your next house party – if, that is, you’re next house party is like a scene out of ‘Skins’ and ends with the police arriving at 2am to shut it all down. Basically, they’re amazing and perfect for shouting along to whilst jumping up and down on your bed as well. Which we’ve never done of course. Ahem.
The latter half of the album contains further gems like the woozy, lurching rock jam ‘Gold Coins’, which makes us want to strut around in a biker jacket and shades at night like we OWN the joint, and the slightly naughty ‘Body Of My Own’ in which Ms XCX proves just how much she DOESN’T need a boy to help her out. Yikes.
The truly glittering jewel in the pop crown though is closing track ‘Need Ur Luv’, a sixties tinged ode to wanting someone who makes you desperately unhappy but you want them regardless. “I need your love! I need it even when it hurts me!” Charli yelps over stomping pianos and anguished backing vocals. It’s simple, direct to the point and heartbreakingly accurate.
Not only does ‘Sucker’ definitely deserves a place on your iPod / iPhone / Spotify (delete where applicable) but it’s also an early contender for best pop album of the year if we have anything to say about it. This is an LP choc full of attitude and bags of personality which is something we need that more than ever in the charts today. Plus, you really can’t argue with amazing tune-age such as this. Ok, all together now… BOOM BOOM BOOM CLAP!
MP! Rating: 4 / 5