Icona Pop: This Is… Icona Pop

Icona Pop: This Is… Icona Pop

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Icona Pop

Album: This Is… Icona Pop
Label: Big Beat/Atlantic

Hit songs don’t get much more ubiquitous than Icona Pop’s “I Love It.” The mega-smash first found legs in the U.S. as a 2012 summer jam (and as the theme song to the Jersey Shore spin-off Snooki & JWoww), and then exploded in popularity this year thanks to pivotal appearances on Girls and Glee, as well as plenty of Top 40 radio airplay. Even Cookie Monster showed the song some love by re-doing “I Love It” as an ode to having self-control around cookies, “Me Want It (But Me Wait).”

The attraction of the song is obvious. With its dive-bombing synths, anthemic chorus, and dancefloor-calibrated BPMs, the song suits nearly any occasion where blowing off steam is required—whether it’s trying to forget a tough week at work or obliterating the memory of a horrible ex. In fact, “I Love It” describes (and encourages) every scorned person’s fantasy: achieving catharsis through gleeful, consequence-free destruction. 

Wisely, This Is… Icona Pop—actually the Swedish duo’s second full-length, but the first one released in the U.S.—continues in this carefree vein. The album’s themes are simple but effective: living in the moment, partying like a rock star, staying upbeat and even (occasionally) getting that crush to kiss you. “Girlfriend” even plucks the hook from a 2Pac song (“All I need in this life of sin / Is me and my girlfriend”) and uses it to anchor an ode to female friendship. Only “Just Another Night,” a Katy Perry-esque, piano-laden song about missing an ex and feeling out of place, wallows in its blue mood. 

All these positive vibes naturally infiltrate This Is… Icona Pop’s music. Songs range from ’80s bubblegum synthpop (“In The Stars”), squirrelly modern EDM (“Ready For The Weekend”), giddy house (“We Got The World”), quirky electropunk (“Then We Kiss”), and even early Kylie Minogue (“On A Roll”). Bandmates Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo are strong vocalists who infuse the record with personality. The pair morph from chanting like sassy cheerleaders to cooing like Gwen Stefani; there’s even some church-choir harmonizing for good measure.

In many ways, Icona Pop has created a slightly more risqué, electro-charged version of the Spice Girls’ friendship-focused, rose-colored world. That’s not a bad thing: In This Is… Icona Pop’s view, any setbacks are mere blips—and as long as the band has its pals, a good beat, and plans for a debauchery-filled night out, then everything will turn out just fine in the end. It’s a refreshingly fun album with no pretenses, just plenty of sing-along hooks and dancefloor jams.

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