Music Review: Charli XCX – Pop 2

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Charli XCX

Pop 2

[Asylum; 2017]

Rating: 4/5

She wasn’t supposed to make it past 25. Charlotte Aitchison’s Charli XCX persona has never been geared toward longevity. Whether braving an apocalyptic day of reckoning on “Nuclear Seasons” or literalizing her mortality on “Die Tonight,” the Cambridge singer has long displayed a sense of fatalism in her music. On True Romance, Charli’s oncoming demise demanded romantic consummation, no matter how transitory. On Sucker, she combated encroaching death with puerile hedonism and carnal distraction. And unlike compatriots and fellow Bacchanalia frontline journalists Arctic Monkeys, whose distaste for English nightlife is so acute you might mistake them for teetotalers, Charli revels in the debauchery of the London club scene, viewing its inevitable hangover as fait accompli and, consequently, a nonissue. This is why her career never seemed likely to sustain itself; the good times were bound to kill this death-obsessed girl. But the joke’s on us: she’s still alive, and on Pop 2, Charli XCX returns for more profligacy, yet this time with a keener perspective recalibrated by the nuances of young adult maturity.

There’s a certain territoriality and arrogance in Charli naming her mixtape Pop 2, but much of her music is spent negotiating the line between admirable confidence and aggressive hauteur. Charli spent roughly half of Sucker explaining that she was too good for you — even if she’ll mete out second and third chances for the sake of comfort and familiarity — while elsewhere flaunting her superhuman tolerance to narcotics and a vast wealth that puts Croesus to shame. And so on Pop 2, we see more of the cocksureness Charli exhibits in spades, as on the escapist-affirmative “Out of My Head” (ft. Tove Lo and ALMA), as well as a self-assured autonomy on tracks like the prurient, cloying “Unlock It” (ft. Kim Petras and Jay Park).

Yet on most of these tracks, Charli XCX sounds to have abjured the truculence and grandeur that granted her notoriety on singles like “Boom Clap,” “Fancy,” and “I Love It,” with much emphasis on her guests, which include Carly Rae Jepsen, CupcakKe, Mykki Blanco, Pabllo Vittar, MØ, Dorian Electra, and more. The Caroline Polachek duet “Tears” finds the singer reckoning with her proclivity for caprice, singing “I killed our life, I’m crazy […] Door shut tight, that ain’t love, no.” In place of her trademark overconfidence, Charli delivers a comparatively unadorned performance, signaling what seems to be genuine feelings of remorse. She may not be the most convincing agent of regret, but Charli didn’t pen these songs in hopes of credence or validation. Instead, she’s singing for her own benefit, to make sense of the needless waffling and unrest in her relationships. More power to her.

In the last 40 seconds of “Delicious” (ft. Tommy Cash), the track shifts from a scrupulously produced club banger to a pristine choir. This is an apt metonym for the instrumentation and arrangements of Pop 2. With production help from the likes of SOPHIE, Life Sim, King Henry, EASYFUN, and executive producer A. G. Cook, the music vacillates between synth-powered spectral screeches and jolts and immaculate choral beds, as if to reconcile the delineation between the impersonal nature of club life, with its ephemeral hookups, and the deceptive jubilance of a real, long-term relationship. The result is mixed bag, with the album’s industrial moments more engrossing by virtue of their immediacy and the more human elements of the production turning into a slog if left alone for too long.

For better or for worse, Charli XCX is embracing maturity on her fourth mixtape. Now 25 years (and some change) old, Charlotte Aitchison looks to be relieving herself of the “born to die young” credo she’s so ardently maintained for the past few years in favor of something more stable. And though she may not find what she’s looking for anytime soon, Charli XCX, on Pop 2, is at least looking down a new path.

♫ Listen: Charli XCX – POP 2

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Listen, there’s no time: Saint Charli just dropped her new mixtape for the fourth day of Hanukkah, so just freakin listen to it okay?? And if the first track being a Charli/Carly teamup isn’t enough to get your dreidel spinning, well, sorry, there’s honestly no hope for you.

POP 2 is available to stream below via Spotify.

Stream Charli XCX Pop 2

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It’s been just about three years since Charli XCX’s last full-fledged LP, the brash and addictive Sucker. But in that time, the pop visionary and Millennial Pink enthusiast has been far from quiet, releasing a steady stream of music via EPs, singles, or mixtapes ahead of her heavily anticipated third … More »

Charli XCX – “Unlock It” (Feat. Kim Petras And Jay Park)

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Last week, Charli XCX announced that she would release her second mixtape of the year, Pop2, on 12/15, alongside a track called “Out Of My Head.” Today, she’s shared another new song from it, “Unlock It,” which features German pop singer Kim Petras and Korean Roc Nation signee Jay Park. The track was produced … More »

Charli XCX announces new mixtape Pop2, and holy crap it’s out next week!?!?

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Okay now, this right here… this is news. After tweet-teasing us into reporting that there were reports that she reportedly had a new mixtape reportedly on the way, Charli XCX has now officially announced that her new mixtape is official. It’s called Pop2, and it’s out December 15 via Atlantic. Okay bye…

Wait… there’s more!?

Yes, there isn’t just a new mixtape from Charli XCX, there’s a new mixtape from Charli XCX that features the likes of ALMA, Brooke Candy, Carly Rae Jepsen, Caroline Polachek, CupcakKe, Dorian Electra, Jay Park, Kim Petras, MØ, Mykki Blanco, Pabllo Vittar, Tommy Cash, Tove Lo, those stories and Andy Rooney tonight on 60 Minutes.

OH! Also: Season 3 of The Candy Shop with Charli XCX kicks off today at 12 PM EST on Beats 1. Wow.

Check out Pop2’s tracklist, and listen to first single “Out Of My Head” — featuring the aforementioned Tove Lo and ALMA, and produced by SOPHIE and A. G. Cook — down below! Pop2 is out next f’ing week. Ahhhhhhhhh!!!

Pop2 tracklist:

01. Backseat [ft. Carly Rae Jepsen]
02. Out Of My Head [ft. Tove Lo and ALMA]
03. Lucky
04. Tears [ft. Caroline Polachek]
05. I Got It [ft. Brooke Candy, CupcakKe and Pabllo Vittar]
06. Femmebot [ft. Dorian Electra and Mykki Blanco]
07. Delicious [ft. Tommy Cash]
08. Unlock It [ft. Kim Petras and Jay Park]
09. Porsche [ft. MØ]
10. Track 10

Charli XCX – “Out Of My Head” (Feat. Tove Lo & Alma) (Prod. SOPHIE & A. G. Cook)

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Over the weekend, Charli XCX took to Twitter to tease a new mixtape featuring Carly Rae Jepsen, Tove Lo, Caroline Polacheck, Mykki Blanco, CupcakKe, Brooke Candy, MØ, and more. Well, it’s confirmed: The mixtape is called POP 2, and it’s arriving next week. Charli announced the news on BBC Radio 1 today, where … More »

Charli XCX breaks the internet by Twitter-teasing new mixtape with Carly Rae Jepsen, Tove Lo, tons more

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Hey, young, savvy readers! Tell me if this is gonna fly with you or not, okay?

So: I just read that a singer (well, some kind of musician, anyway) named Charli XCX — whoever THAT is — said a THING yesterday? On TWITTER?? About a NEW ALBUM???

Or, I guess it’s not a “new album,” really…but a new “mixtape”? (Those are two different things, yeah?)

And…it’s a little hard to tell (cuz again: I’m literally just reading Twitter tweets, here)…buuuuut…it seems to feature the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen, A. G. Cook, Tove Lo, Kim Petras, Mykki Blanco, Brooke Candy, CupcakKe, and Pabllo Vitar, among others?

I can’t tell when/how it’s coming out or anything… but I guess I can show you all the tweets, and you can…like, read/decide “for yourselves”?

Does that count???

I’m sorry… I’m just really struggling.

Hopefully you’re excited about new stuff from Charli XCX and all, but basically: you all tell me: is this THE NEWS?

Am I “REPORTING THE NEWS TO YOU” right now??

Mr P, do I still get a paycheck for this?

I don’t even know.

Oneohtrix Point Never teams with PC Music head A. G. Cook for “Sticky Drama” remix

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According to the headline above, Oneohtrix Point Never and PC Music head A. G. Cook have just shared a new track. Following up their joint holiday tune from 2014 (“Bubs”), Oneohtrix Point Never has this time tapped A. G. Cook for a remix of “Sticky Drama,” who tapped back with a wild, gorgeous rendition of the Garden of Delete track, which includes a warbly superstar falsetto that’ll make doves cry.

And in case you missed it, the power couple dropped their version of the 500 best tracks of 2016 the other day. I mean, that’s cool and all, but it’s, like, isn’t that our job? 🙁

Oneohtrix Point Never – “Sticky Drama (A. G. Cook Remix)”

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"Sticky Drama"Sticky Drama” was a highlight from Oneohtrix Point Never’s 2015 album Garden Of Delete. The song already got a ridiculous hour-long Four Tet remix, and today another electronic visionary, PC Music mastermind A. G. Cook, has given it a whirl. Cook’s version accentuates the song’s goofy, colorful appeal and is arguably superior to … More »

Carly Rae Jepsen Enters Dance Music With PC Music’s Newest Compilation

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Back in August, PC Music‘s Danny L Harle teamed up with vocalist Carly Rae Jepsen to release one of the most mainstream pieces of the record label’s work. Despite the label’s notorious tendency for creating extreme and highly stylized pop songs that cross into strange and hypnotic realms, the partnering with Jepsen proved to be a truly fluid and worthwhile endeavor. The track, “Super Natural,” even received an official music video to go along with it, adding an extra layer of meaning and aesthetic to the already drenched song.

This week, however, the song was re-released on Spotify as part of PC Music’s second official compilation. Iconic underground acts like A.G. Cook, Hannah Diamond, Life Sim and easyFun each contributed to the 10-track collection, culminating in a truly diverse and exciting listening experience. Powerful and mysterious ballads, fast-paced dance heaters and everything in between can be found in droves, all while maintaining the unique PC Music vibe that hooked its audience in the first place.

As the electronic dance music and pop spheres entwine even further, it’s collectives like PC Music that are taking the most substantial steps toward the future of the hybrid genre. With big names like Jepsen and Charlie XCX now involving themselves in the label’s releases, it appears more and more likely that they’ll have a significant hand in shaping the direction of the movement as it progresses.

Check out Danny L Harle and Carly Rae Jepsen’s collaboration below, and look further down for the complete compilation.

This article was first published on Your EDM.
Source: Carly Rae Jepsen Enters Dance Music With PC Music’s Newest Compilation