ALBUM REVIEW: Icona Pop – This Is… Icona Pop

This Is... Icona Pop artwork
This Is… Icona Pop artwork

ARTIST Icona Pop

ALBUM This Is… Icona Pop

LABEL Big Beat

RELEASE DATE 24 September 2013

7.1 | 10

Icona Pop’s breakthrough single “I Love It” took a curious route to mainstream success. While for some that track was a summer anthem in 2012, for many others it became inescapable just in time for Spring Break 2013. The synth-pop juggernaut worked on a micro level, but how would it translate to a 12 track album? As is the case with most pop albums, This Is… Icona Pop is lyrically inconsistent, with its aims set squarely towards Top 40 airplay and the top of the iTunes singles chart. The only problem is that the album doesn’t answer the essential question of who Icona Pop is.

That’s not to say Icona Pop doesn’t succeed in their top priority, as This Is… Icona Pop is a hefty serving of high-fructose pop music. The duo get straight to the point by placing their hit single in the pole position on the track list. From there, it’s a lot of the same buoyant, high energy electro pop that one could reasonably expect, for better and worse.

“Girlfriend” effectively apes the melody of “Bonnie & Clyde ’03,” and in return delivers an anthem akin to Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” with its theme of female unity. The best moment occurs when they largely forgo the synths and deliver a sing-a-long chorus on “Light Me Up.” They close the album with “Then We Kiss,” and the production does a perfect job of capturing the initial butterflies to go along with a first kiss.

Unfortunately, when the beats and melodies aren’t strong enough to carry a song, Icona Pop doesn’t have the lyrical chops to capture our attention spans. Such is the case with “Hold On,” and its main refrain being, “Hold on / because I don’t feel like letting go.” While not nearly as cringeworthy as “do you ever feel like a plastic bag” or “now art’s in pop culture in me,” it certainly leaves a lot to be desired. But as a collection of electro pop songs, there might not be an album this year with so many additions to your Party playlist.

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