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December 2018 / January 2019
Review

Charli XCX - Pop 2

‘Pop 2’ is the latest step in Charli XCX’s quest to complete music.
Charli XCX - Pop 2
Published: 12:04 pm, January 01, 2018
‘Pop 2’ is the latest step in Charli XCX’s quest to complete music.
Label: Asylum
Released: 15th December 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Pop has always been about the future. Shaking things up, messing with minds and coming up with something life changing. Nobody understands this more than Charli XCX, her latest mixtape ‘Pop 2’ further forging her own unique path on a bonkers and brilliant collection that sounds unlike anything else.

Working in harness with producer and P.C music bigwig A.G. Cook, Charli pushes boundaries like only she can, offering her warped vision of a pop fantasia where anything goes. She doesn’t do it alone, though. ‘Pop 2’ features a stunning array of guests, all coming together under her glorious vision.

Carly Rae Jepsen provides a tender counterpoint on bruised cyber ballad ‘Backseat’, while Tove Lo and ALMA bring the party on turbo banger ‘Out Of My Head’. Elsewhere, strong and diverse characters like Mykki Blanco, Brooke Candy, and Tommy Cash make their presence felt alongside stars like German artist Kim Petras - all coming together in a celebration of a new way of doing things, the destruction of established norms.



There’s a bit of everything here. Frequently disorienting, thrilling and head spinning, even something deceptively simple like Caroline Polachek’s dreamy ‘Tears’ is set against a glistening, twinkling industrial backdrop full of glitches, hops, skips and pops.

There’s nobody out there making music like this. Nobody with this much vision, dare and confidence. As Charli sings on the supercharged ‘Femmebot’, “Go fuck your prototype, i’m an upgrade of your stereotype.”

Crucially, there’s also a humanity and tenderness present that makes ‘Pop 2’ both hugely exciting but deeply relatable. It’s there both in the sweet teenage romanticism of ‘Unlock it’ and heartbreaking closer ‘Track 10’, with its sad refrain of “I blame it on your love every time I fuck it up”. At all times there’s beauty behind the madness.

‘Pop 2’ isn’t really an album. Charli says it’s a mixtape and you wouldn't want to argue with her. What it definitely is, though, is perhaps the finest distillation of what makes her continued evolution so amazing. We know that she can do it all. ‘Pop 2’ is the latest step in Charli XCX’s quest to complete music. Martyn Young

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