Icona Pop: This Is...Icona Pop (Big Beat/Atlantic) - album review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, November 28th, 2023  

Issue #47 - September/October 2013 - MGMTIcona Pop

This Is…Icona Pop

Big Beat/Atlantic

Sep 25, 2013 Icona Pop Bookmark and Share

Icona Pop’s transformation into the feel-good band of the summer wasn’t simply a case of the right song and the right show. Crucially, the manner in which “I Love It” was used in HBO’s Girlsdialogue-free and couching a season-defining scenewas the real stroke of genius. The water-cooler moment effectively gave the Swedish duo a Lena Dunham-starring clip for a track commercially underperforming in the U.S. up until that moment.

While much of This Is…Icona Pop finds a model in the bass-charged carpe diem M.O. of their double platinum-selling anthem, it’s not the record’s endgame. An intelligent musical narrative hangs everything cutely together, angling “I Love It” as a departure point rather than a linchpin. Significantly, that track opens the record, heading up a five-song punch that flexes the euphoric, drop-heavy electro that Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo have been pushing in live shows. Club jam “Ready for the Weekend” finds a place alongside the friendship celebration of “Girlfriend,” but a mid-album shift both elevates and progresses This Is… to an entirely unexpected place. Re-introducing the left-of-centre (and distinctively Scandinavian) pop shell that made their early EPs such a rush, “In the Stars” and “On a Roll” smooth the way to the album’s big song.

“Just Another Night” trades electro rushes for the record’s most traditional pop moment. Full of strident, assertive choruses, it’s swathed in resonating ABBA-esque disco melodrama and the same high production that forged Taylor Swift’s Red or Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream. A coolly modern lyrical conceit (“Stepping over cracks in the pavement/Another night of being wasted/Staring at your name”) cements its credentials as a superlative counterpoint to “I Love It.” Icona Pop’s potential for longevityever precarious in popular musicis the song’s true achievement and the album’s trump card.

By a careful balance of producers, personality, and expectation-handling, This Is… succeeds where most modern pop records fail: it’s a nurturing, exciting, and very intelligent debut. (www.iconapop.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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