As 2017 winds to an end, the music world is preparing to enter 2018 with a bang. Some artists are still making their final statements for the year, ready to bring in 2018 rolling. Charli XCX is among them. Charli XCX mixes it up with Pop 2, her new album with some interesting elements to it, but levels out by the end.
Charli XCX isn't generally synonymous with "groundbreaking" (unless you qualify crashing your car into a bridge as such...), though on Pop 2 she definitely doesn't stick to the norm, at least for the first half of the record. 'Backseat' introduces the record, and you can already tell it's a banger as Carly Rae Jepsen is featured on it. It's a sweet anthem, its metallic synths underlying sweet melodies. The instrumental is constantly changing, giving the song a very progressive feel that is absent a lot of the time in pop music. 'Out Of My Hand' follows through with a similar sweetness, accompanied by Tove Lo and ALMA to add extra flair to the track. Closing track 'Track 10' is another very unique track, minimalist in its execution and just odd enough to give it that experimental vibe.
Unfortunately, much of Pop 2 falls to the hands of pop culture. 'I Got It' is simply a meme with CupcakKe being CupcakKe with her own style and Brooke Candy with overtly sexual lyrics (though the chorus is very reminiscent of The Weeknd which does add some nice sound to the record). 'Femmebot' coming right after it doesn't exactly help, as its odd and disjointed nature just doesn't come out as effectively as it seemed Charlie X had hoped. 'Tears' isn't a bad song by any length, it's just the tortured screeches (presumably from Chairlift's Caroline Polachek) in the background seem a bit out of place. Otherwise, the album just wanes between average and below average, with familiar hooks and tropes that you've heard before.
Charli XCX mixes it up with Pop 2, but for limited time. There are few places where ideas really shine brightly and show what Charli XCX is capable of. Otherwise, Pop 2 is largely just average or even less, not really defining what she is clearly capable of doing. It's a shame, but it's better some great ideas are shared than none.
Favorite Track: Backseat
Least Favorite Tracks: I Got You, Femmebot, Porsche
Rating: 66 / 100
Stream or buy Pop 2 on Apple Music: