Charli XCX has enjoyed an impressive rise in popularity following hits such as ‘Boom Clap’, ‘Fancy’ with Iggy Azalea, and writing Icona Pop’s ‘I Love It’. After the relative commercial failure of 2013’s True Romance, can Sucker match up to her debut album commercially and critically?
The answer is yes and no. Whilst Charli seems poised to outsell her first album, the sound is a very different beast from the electronica of True Romance. Instead, it reflects the in-between stage of the recording process, when Charli was set to make a straight up punk record. Pop-rock influences remain, especially on the catchy ‘Breaking Up’, and on the peppy ‘London Queen’, where the lyrics talk of ‘driving on the wrong side of the road’, and being a Brit girl in L.A. ‘Doing It’, with an additional verse from Rita Ora, is one of the best moments of the album, combining girl power and dance pop to make a memorable pop song.
There are some impressive album tracks to be found here. ‘Need Ur Luv’ is an impressive way to finish the album, and feels more fully formed than some of the other songs, providing an unusually happy perspective after an album full of rebellion. ‘So Over You’ boasts a chorus that is shrill but memorable, whilst ‘Red Balloon’ offers a dance breakdown that you can’t really resist. ‘Hanging Around’ even manages to bring a glam-rock sound to the end of the record.
[quote]The problem with this album, if there is one, is that some of the songs are effectively too short to make a lasting impact.[/quote]
The problem with this album, if there is one, is that some of the songs are effectively too short to make a lasting impact. There are 16 songs, and plenty of material, but certain hooks are fleeting, and often attention-seeking in a way that Charli’s previous songs, such as ‘You’re The One’ and ‘You (Ha Ha Ha)’ were subtle in their use of production and melody. ‘Boom Clap’ with its warm chorus, is a stand out highlight, whilst ‘Break The Rules’ also manages to be a great song to dance to, but the problems of the album are shown most in its opening track, ‘Sucker’, which uses a promising futuristic sound but is ruined by its abrasive chorus.
Overall, this a good, if not great album, with some standout moments but filler which drags it down and makes it slightly underwhelming next to 2013’s True Romance.
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