Charli XCX is one of the UK’s freshest female popstars, with her bright electro-pop and cheeky attitude. Most of her success has come from teaming up with artists such as Icona Pop and Rita Ora, but her third studio album Sucker might just be the final push she needs to become a star in her own right.
The aim of the game with Sucker is obvious: be as catchy as humanly possible. Given that, we’re not quite sure why title track ‘Sucker’ opens the record, as it’s definitely not the catchiest song on the album (although the vocal melody in the verse simulating the structure of Alice Cooper’s ‘Poison’ is an unusual yet amusing reason to love it! Seriously, listen out for it – it’ll surprise you). Charli XCX epitomises what it is to be young and fun and almost every song on Sucker caters to that. ‘Break the Rules’ and ‘Boom Clap’ sees her embrace her youthful bubblegum-pop side, while her feisty attitude shines through with ‘London Queen’ and ‘Body of My Own’, which simply ooze cool. ‘Famous’ is probably the album’s weak spot; but even that plays around with irresistible pop hooks and edgy chorus breakdowns that an older artist just wouldn’t get away with.
Sucker works (albeit effortlessly) to create that party atmosphere, but we do see brief moments of emotional clarity. For example, despite the quirky lyrics of ‘Breaking Up’ “You have an ugly tattoo and fucking cheap perfume / You couldn’t dance, barely moved and didn’t know what to do / You have a friend in the band but they’re not that cool”, there’s probably a little more truth behind the song than it lets on. ‘Doing It’ is a sexy, sultry song with mature, sophisticated undertones more suitable for a private party of two than a wild night at the club. Even with the cringe-worthy ‘text speak’ title of ‘Need Ur Luv’, Charli XCX strips back the party vibe in favour of a softer ‘60s female pop sound – think The Supremes, with electro.
Charli XCX is different to any other British female soloist – whether it be the airy-fairy Ellie Goulding, the timeless Adele or the bland and generic Cheryl – and she breathes fresh life into the scene. Sucker isn’t quite ground-breaking, but it is fun, liberating and something you’ll find yourself dancing around your bedroom in your underpants to in no time.