Charli XCX - Pop 2
Today was gonna be a rough day with new albums from G-Eazy and Eminem setting up to be severely horrible, not exactly how you want to dive into a Friday. Then magically as if coming from a neon pop forest Charli XCX emerges with a new mixtape, Pop 2, and all her famous friends in tow. Carly Rae Jepsen, Caroline Polachek (Chairlift), Tove Lo and Mykki Blanco are just a few of the star who populate this record adding to it's new take on what pop music can be. Charli XCX has never been one to allow boundaries to define her and the people on this record are similarly trying to re-invent the genre. The first single from the record "Out of My Head" featuring Tove Lo and ALMA is this really modern pop exploration of production and beat. These aren't just bubblegum pop singers, they are using their voices and ad-libs a lot like trap guys using the voice as a weapon to attack the beat. At the heart of the song is this pretty basic bit, just putting a stomp on the floor but then it expands and shifts into something totally different. You can just imagine the girl power flowing through the studio as fist pumps and head nods were had by all. The thing about Charli XCX is how effortlessly she slides into such a modern sound. With a lot of pop stars producers will try to force trap beats, or push their sound into something super electronic (cough cough Taylor Swift) even if it doesn't fit but you never get that sense with Charli.
This being a "mixtape" however you can tell Charli has taken some risks she might not otherwise. "Tears" with Caroline Polachek is new territory for both of the artists with this really crazy trap beat skittering away and this ominous beat ever present. It's a weird choice to put autotune on Caroline who arguably has one of the best voices in music that goes totally under utilized on this track. It's not until the very end that Caroline is fully set loose, but the autotune just takes away. The production on this album however is just impeccable filling every inch of space. "I Got It" is absolutely insane with some weird ass rappers Brooke Candy, Cupcakke and Pabllo Vittar. They must be some kind of European people, because they sure as shit can't rap all to well. It feels like they are chasing a kind of trap vibe but mixing it with dub-step, it just don't work. This happens a few other times on the record where the songs just miss the mark, but Charli has found that freedom in mixtapes to experiment and try things. The album is not without it's missteps but all in all it is a step forward for pop music as well as Charli XCX proving that there isn't anything this gal can't do.
7.9 out of 10