“Fuck playing the game,” that’s a message Charli XCX wrote to her fans following the release of her new mixtape “Pop 2”. She admitted in recent months she had lost her way and was losing sight of what she really wanted in life. But if “Pop 2” is anything to go by it looks like Charli XCX is back to her brilliant ways. She was left disheartened and frustrated after her last release “Number 1 Angel” by the fact she hadn’t gotten the big prize by matching the success of some of today’s current pop stars. But what has set Charli XCX apart from other artists is her individuality and luckily for us, disregarding the way pop stars are “meant” to make and release music has given Charli a new sense of freedom. “Pop 2” has Charli XCX bringing us a mixtape that almost has an exaggerated pop instrumental, each song has a dance vibe with a disorientated sample behind it.
Charli XCX grew up listening to Britney Spears and the Spice Girls, before joining MySpace where is catapulted her sound off bloghouse and hype machine electro. After spending her early teens performing in big sunglasses and blonde wigs at DIY London raves, she signed to Asylum Records at the age of 18 to live her pop star dreams. She had massive success with Icona Pop’s “I Love It” and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy”, both which she co-wrote, before going mainstream with her first solo hit “Boom Clap”. She then teamed up with PC music to release a few bubblegum post modern pop mixtapes.
“Pop 2” the best full-length work of both Charli and PC Music’s respective careers and is worthy of an entry into the 2017 pop music charts. Charli XCX makes clear distinction between albums and mixtapes: albums mean compromise and mixtapes mean total creative freedom. Charli somehow manages to keep pop the center of attention on every track never letting her musical experiments over shadow the hook. From songs like “Femmebot”, “I Got It” and “Delicious” the skittering beats and heavy auto tune are presence, but yet in this futuristic sounding album all these elements work so well with Charli’s style.
Charli has never been shy about collaborating and “Pop 2” is full of features and co-productions. All but two songs has a featured artist, from Carly Rae Jepsen, Jay Park, to the likes of M0 and Tove Lo. The production for this album shifts everytime a new guest arrives on the scene giving that artist the space to do their own thing. “Pop 2” is Charli’s second mixtape this year and she’s proved without a doubt she’s more than your average pop star. This mixtape isn’t just about Charli XCX, no it’s more about the vision of what pop music is going to be.
Rating 4.5 / 5