Saturday, October 11, 2014

Track By Track Throwback: "THIS IS … ICONA POP" by Icona Pop

This throwback is dedicated to the almost debut album by Swedish 90's bitches Icona Pop. Though it was not their first LP, Icona Pop's revamped album of balls to the wall bangers was a reckless thrill ride across every dance floor. So let's get into shall we?

1. I Love It feat. Charli XCX

We've been through this before, but "I Love It" is OFFICIALLY the best song of last year and possibly this decade. Thanks to Charli XCX, we got an insanely catchy kiss off that every college freshman had screamed in clubs across the world. Pretty much my theme song for any occasion. At 2 and a half minutes, the three girls managed to take over TV, airwaves, movies, and anything else you may have thought of. With this being their first song on the album, Aino and Caroline set the bar pretty high.

2. All Night

"All Night" was the follow up to "I Love It" and would have removed Icona Pop from their one-hit wonder status if people would give it a chance. It starts off with a fun little guitar lick before finding the girls back on the dance floor (where they belong). Though not as immediate or anarchist, it is an aspirational feel-good jam that is especially great live. And the video should give you LIFE in so many ways.

3. We Got The World

The girls first foray into EDM territory also happens to be Tove Lo written. I wonder what it sounds like? BLOODY INCREDIBLE THAT'S WHAT! By now, Icona Pop's signature can be heard as a carefree statement of being who you are and just having fun. And it's a lesson a lot of popstars need to remember.

4. Ready For The Weekend

By now, it's pretty dizzying the pace that this album is going. The BPM is probably averages above every other album from last year. However, with "Ready For The Weekend" Icona Pop decides to mislead us into thinking that Gregorian chant would be there the entire time. Then the auto tune and beat comes in and we realize Aino & Caroline were just joking. Not the most amazing song but one of the most interesting for sure.

5. Girlfriend

Yes that is them sampling Tupac. But don't let that turn you off. The song is all right. It just kind of ambles on with steady electronic beats pairing up with the girls declaration of female camaraderie (ME AND MY GIRLFRIEND). It would have probably been better if they had replaced this with a song from their Swedish album like "Nights Like This" or "Downtown." Oh well.

6. In The Stars

We start to enter some pretty cool stuff now. "In The Stars" has the girls declaring their future as "pharaohs on the throne" before going into a rock n roll esque chorus. One of the catchier songs on the record, it will have you jamming in about 10 seconds. The best bit is when you hear one of them shouting in the background!

7. On a Roll

This Shellback-produced joyride is a definite favorite. That beginning with Icona Pop "do do doo"ing is pretty awesome. It's a headbanger from beginning to end and uses a guitar wisely for a dance song. And for some reason sounds very distinctly Swedish. Way to represent Icona Pop!

8. Just Another Night

The only real ballad on the album is the delicate and heartfelt "Just Another Night." For some reason, this appears to be Icona Pop's favorite off the album and is no doubt a nice song. For Hilary Duff. Or Celine Dion. Or Adele. Just not Icona Pop. It's sad when an act can't deliver a ballad properly but it's better to just accept it and move on to the next banger. Fortunately, this is the only really skippable song on the album.

9. Hold On

Back on the dance floor, we see the girls get a little more angsty and steer the boy-hating "I Love It" energy into a little darker territory. Then that slightly country-ish chorus comes in like sunshine and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. The most straightforward pop song for sure, a little boring compared to the others. But the chorus is still great.

10. Light Me Up

The second to last song on their album happens to be their best (besides I Love It cuz duh). Another Tove Lo co-write, it bridges the gap between older indie reggae Icona Pop and newer EDM Icona Pop.  From the islandy guitar to the "Oh Oh's" in the background, "Light Me Up" pretty much sums up the girls aesthetic for marrying organic and electronic sounds perfectly. That "Even If I go down in flames" part is really great.

11. Then We Kiss

The last song on the album is an energy filled smash that somehow incorporates an electric harmonica. Bearing a similarity to the Sugababes' "About You Now," it's a bouncy and fun song with Icona Pop recounting stories of falling in love and that amazing first kiss. It pretty much writes itself.

THIS IS… was Icona Pop's introduction to mainstream pop music and is a solid effort regardless of its lack of critical success. It may have been a lot less charming than their Swedish debut but it's a fun-filled thrill ride that succeeds in getting you to move. So let's hope Icona Pop continue to achieve the success they deserve and if not let's just remember

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