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Pop 2 by Charli XCX
“Pop 2” is the fourth mixtape by English artist Charli XCX. The singer’s previous work has generally been described as “experimental pop” and this album more or less toes the same line. The mixtape has ten songs.
“Pop 2” opens up with “Backseat”, featuring Carly Rae Jepsen. It is a lucid song with themes of distraction from pain by using noise and parties – a theme that has been used in a LOT of pop songs, yet somehow, this song has been packaged in a very interesting way which doesn’t make the song monotonous. The beats are catchy and add to the flavour of the song.
“Out Of My Head” is probably the most exciting track as it features the talented Tove Lo and Finnish artist Alma. This song is that point in the mixtape that takes you by surprise. Pop music has been so often degraded as “meaningless”, that whenever the genre reads “pop”, people somehow lower their expectations automatically. This song breaks free of all those stereotypes and it is very well written. Alma’s voice is raw and gorgeous, ensuring that the song stays fresh in it’s essence. Tove Lo’s verse is incredible and adds a lot more meaning to the song. The track is quite special as it has themes of irony – the vibe is supposed to be serious yet it is sung in a light, carefree manner.
The third track is “Lucky” – which is probably the saddest, slowest track. It is slow yet simmering, and it turns out to be that song on the album that you listen to once in a while. It is fair on the ears and references “Backseat”. The feel of the song is ,however, a lot more sinister than the first two tracks.
“Tears” which is the fourth track features Caroline Polacheck, cements the feel of one part of the mixtape, as the natural reckless nature of the lyrics has weirdly (and beautifully) been juxtaposed with the sadness of a broken heart.
“I Got It” featuring Brooke Candy, cupcakKe and Pablo Vittar hits you in the face due to the stark contrast it makes when compared to the previous track. The raunchy, almost fierce, confidence is back and I had no clue what to expect out of this track, yet it is quite enjoyable.
“Femmebot” turned out to be my favourite among all the ten songs. It features Dorian Electra and Mykki Blanco. The track sounds incredibly futuristic in a lot of ways, and the fusion of various vintage electronic sounds (especially from video games) showcases creative genius. The result? A VERY refreshing track – an ideal moving-on song on steroids.
The seventh track “Delicious”, featuring Tommy Cash has the signature Charli XCX vibe with a wonderful twist brought in after the interlude. The tune and rhythm simply pick up after the interlude and the overall effect by the end of the song leaves you reeling. The song lives up to it’s title – “Delicious”.
“Unlock It” featuring Jay Park and Kim Petras sounds very much like a bubblegum-pop song. It can be passed off as satisfactory and isn’t the best song on the mixtape, despite the fact that it’s hook is quite catchy.
The ninth track “Porsche” features MØ and like their previous collaborations like “Pull Up”, their voices complement each other. The song again brings about a slight deviation in the theme from the previous two tracks.
“Track 10” is the last song on the mixtape and it hasn’t been named accurately for the song sounds a lot more impressive than it’s title. The instrumental break and the background vocals are impressive and with its simple lyrics and an air of acceptance and finality, it seems to be a nice way to seal the mixtape closed.
Above all, Charli XCX has grown as an artist and she makes it clear that she isn’t a dumb pop princess and is unafraid to explore all the different sides that she has. What is lovely about this collection is how it seamlessly changes it’s themes and does not bore the listener at all. There is the entire cohort of amazing, underrated featured artists and they add to the charm of the mixtape. She has definitely matured her approach and methods since her 2014 album “Sucker” and yet has managed to stay original to her own true style and that is not an easy task. Go listen.