Charli XCX’s 2013 album, True Romance in some ways marked her as a new form of indie-pop-punk princess and in other ways had a fleeting amount of hype that left no dent in the industry. Since then she has spent more and more time in America touring, writing and not just for herself, but for pop icons too. She has also experienced success in the form of collaborations with Swedish electro-duo, Icona Pop on the hit, ‘I Love It’, with Aussie rapper, Iggy Azalea on ‘Fancy’ and on solo track ‘Boom Clap’ which featured on the The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack. She’s demonstrated the ability to blur the lines between genres and a knack for creating an infectious pop tune, and with new album Sucker, it certainly seems Charli’s star is set to rise, even if it feels like she is still lurking behind the more conventional faces of pop.
Sucker is a ballsy album that blasts her first major record and early album out of the picture, throwing their somewhat lethargic attempt at electro-pop into the distance. Title track ‘Sucker’ kicks open the album screaming “f*** you, sucker”. An opening statement if you haven’t heard one. The snarling tone stands out amongst the synths, echoing vocals and ‘woos’. 2014 single ‘Break The Rules’ takes over, reminding us that this album is going to be one fearless rebellion against many industries. Amongst the plucky guitars and relentless basslines, the hook is unashamedly infectious as she cries “I don’t wanna go to school / I just wanna break the rules / Going to the discotheque / Getting high and getting wrecked”.
‘London Queen’ is short, explosive and ultimately catchy. “I never thought I’d be living in the USA / Living the dream like a London Queen”. There isn’t much content to the track itself, but she proves that she can effortlessly write an contagious track. ‘Breaking Up’ follows next, again proving Charli can write more than a handful of catchy songs. It’s a track which much like the rest of the album could easily soundtrack at least one teen-girl film and its clear in its tone, attitude and the fact that Charli dresses like a “nineties chick” that this is the general feel of the album and her style. ‘Gold Coins’ too revels in the nineties sound with thrashy, low-fi guitars and a ragged vocal, over synths and beats that sound like jingles from Gameboy’s. In comparison, ‘Boom Clap’ from last year’s huge teen-tear jerker The Fault in Our Stars appears one of the weaker tracks to be taken from the album. Its sultry vocal and shimmering electro chorus, whilst still structured and executed is somewhat lost amongst the album’s other feisty tracks.
New single ‘Doing it Right’ feat. Rita Ora, takes over and provides us with a less fiery and angsty feel, but rather supplies us with a chilled, party mode. It etches a carefree attitude, dunking itself into the depths of the YOLO attitude. The second half of the album contains less of the big singles and holds onto the back of the first half’s gritty, confident tone. However, two tracks that stick out are ‘Famous’ which is set to be the next single and ‘Need Ur Love’ a collaboration with Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij, that sees Charli reiterate “I need your love / I need it even when it hurts me / I won’t give up / I won’t give up so come and get me.” It’s squeaky and sweet with a youthful tone of juvenile lust.
If Sucker was a being, it would be a teen kicking and screaming, but perhaps a little wittier. Charli XCX has honed the angry girl rock and blended it with what often sounds like Japaneese video game beats. It’s an album where it is impossible to pick a top three tracks, which marks the sign of a wholesome and nurtured album, with each track rivalling the next. Sucker is courageous and strong in attitude, leaving you feeling like you can take on any challenge and just absolutely dominate it, ignoring preconceptions, authorities and anyone in your way.