Icona Pop – Iconic EP
by Runyon Colie (History), published October 26th 2012
Moldy | Stale | Edible | Fresh | Tasty!
Two minutes and 37 seconds of pure hedonistic ecstasy, Icona Pop’s “I Love It” was the song of summer 2012. Penned by the British it-girl Charli XCX and kicking off with the sort drop that would make many a dubstep producer question everything they’d ever done, “I Love It” was a relentless, brilliant piece of #YOLO brand pop music, a tell-off that was as clever as it was liberating. Perfectly harmonized vocal tracks, a thumping beat and some truly ridiculous shout-along lyrics (You’re so damn hard to please / We gotta kill this switch / You’re from the ’70s / But I’m a ’90s bitch) made the song one of the summer’s sleeper hits. Now the Swedish electro-pop duo (made up of Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt) is releasing the Iconic EP, which collects “I Love It” with five other singles and unreleased tracks in preparation for a debut album which should arrive next year. Though none of the other tracks reach the same heights as “I Love It,” they present an enticing and enthusiastic vision of Icona Pop’s future.
“Manners,” the EP’s quietest contribution, is the farthest thing from “I Love It” that appears on the EP–a plea to a lover in the process of breaking things off that sees Jawo and Hjelt trade off on vocal duties in front of a subdued electronic soundscape. The rest of the songs lands somewhere between these two poles, with “Top Rated” striking a balance between slinky synths and a bombastic, life-affirming chorus that results in the Iconic EP’s second best track. “Ready for the Weekend” is a banger which begins quietly but builds into a pitch-shifted chorus and features a club friendly drop, though it is eventually brought back to earth by a general formlessness, while “Good For You” is notable mostly for its unfortunate tongue twister of a chorus (You love my love, you’re never gonna find better love / You hate my love, you couldn’t live without it.) Closer “Sun Goes Down” features a rather divisive contribution from The Knocks which places it among the weakest tracks on the EP, but recovers enough by its end that it doesn’t leave a negative impression.
The Iconic EP should make Icona Pop’s upcoming debut one of the most anticipated albums in pop music. If Jawo and Hjelt can avoid some of the EP’s early missteps (unnecessarily pitch-shifted vocals, some unfortunate lyrical phrasing) and capitalize on its strengths (the ability to toe the line between art pop and club bangers, a fearsome sense of personality) they should have no trouble proving that “I Love It” and co. was a harbinger of things to come, rather than a one-off success. In an era where artists like Robyn can play to a festival crowd while remaining staunchly pop, Icona Pop has a bright future.
Recommended Tracks: I Love It, Top Rated, Manners