Release: December 15, 2014
UK singer-songwriter Charli XCX, known for writing Icona Pop’s “I Love It” and singing the only tolerable bit of Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy,” released her second studio album SUCKER in December. After the massive summer success of the first single “Boom Clap,” her image seemed to have fully shed the creepers & VHS tape 2012 tumblr aesthetic of her first album True Romance for a more sweet pop sound. Does this mean SUCKER was her segway to selling-out? Absolutely not.
Despite her chart success over the past few years, the actual core of Charli XCX’s sound seemed to have only progressed naturally. True Romance and SUCKER are both light-hearted yet sassy pop releases. However, simply put, SUCKER is bigger. SUCKER feels 80’s stadium level massive, with the electric guitars and hand claps to match. Every song is under four minutes, in fact, half the album is under three minutes. There are no certified snoozers, which is a feat for recent pop albums, just powerhouse after powerhouse.
Opening with pounding heartbeats and a flatline is the title track “Sucker”. Charli screams a f-bomb in the first line to gear the listener up for the attitude laced throughout, and it’s awesome. This is definitely the loudest song on the album and the chaos of the production is actually fairly overwhelming on first listen. However, the second time around this ended up being one of my favorite songs.
“Break The Rules” was the second single released, featuring a music video overflowing with teen movie references, even Jawbreaker’s Rose McGowen makes a cameo. This song thrives off of the bass lines and the effortless build up of the catchy chorus. Despite the lyrics potential for eye-rolling, Charli’s sincere delivery makes you want to skip class with her and make the discotheque go up on a Tuesday.
The aforementioned “Boom Clap” steals the title for biggest ear-worm chorus of the summer. Oddly enough, this is one of the most subdued songs on the album, vocally and in production. Compared to previous five songs, “Boom Clap” is less chaotic and middle-finger-to-the-principal. The subtle taste of electro-pop modernizes just enough without making it seem dated. Also refreshing, this is one of only three love songs on the album.
“Doing It” is the recently released third single. One of my friends pointed out how excellently vague the chorus is, “I think we better do it like we’re doing it now”. One could make “it” whatever they wanted it to be: party, run errands, fashion, etc. The middle eight of this song is it’s highest point; I can envision a room of girls getting ready together and suddenly singing it in unison. Yes, it’s just that cinematic. Rita Ora is featured on the radio single and I found that this gave “Doing It” the extra boost it needed for chart success, taking me by surprise.
“Body of My Own” is the most supremely 80s track on here; the chorus’s guitar riff is very much like a high-cut swimsuit beach party. Lyrically, this is obviously a long needed positive lady masturbation jam, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Britney’s “Touch of My Hand” in ’04. The breakdown of Charli’s breathing and electronic beeps is a high point, and keeps the song from veering into the monotonous.
Overall, SUCKER is a shameless bundle of fun. There is nothing too deep here; you won’t find a critique on capitalism or an introspective journey… and that’s totally O.K. SUCKER is the album you need on the weekends when the second week of the semester already has you burnt out. This album is demanding you to get up, go out, and be loud. Do it like she’s doing it now!
If you enjoy this release, try checking out her previous album True Romance, UK pop duo Shampoo’s singles “I Know What Boys Like” and “Trouble” (Hello, M.I.A…), and Carly Rae Jepsen’s album Kiss, which I promise is so much more than “Call Me Maybe.”