Charli XCX – Sucker (2 stars)

Charli XCX – Sucker

A less than distinctive debut with just a modicum of attitude

‘Fuck you, sucker!’ These are practically the first words out of Charli XCX’s mouth on her début album. Nice to make your acquaintance too: does X stand for exasperating? Because Sucker has a modicum of attitude but fails to capture the unfettered don’t-give-a-shitness of ‘I Love It’, the song which Charlotte Emma Aitchison (to use her polite name) wrote for Swedish duo, Icona Pop.

You may also know Charli from other ‘featuring’ hits such as Iggy Azalea’s ‘Fancy’. Like Bruno Mars before her, is writer/performer Aitchison going to give all her best songs to other artists? Sucker certainly suggests it. Take that opening electro-pop tirade. A blaring title track full of generic sound and manicured fury signifying nothing more than a soundtrack to punching pillows. Compare the yah-boo attitude of P!nk’s ‘So What’ or the plate-smashing catharsis of Kelis’ ‘Caught Out There’ for a more potent pop taste of a woman scorned.

Charli’s would-be snotty rebellion feels as contrived as Ke$ha’s walk-of-shame partying or Meghan Trainor’s occupation of the cutesy retro bubble-gum corner. This is arguably just a hazard of the tween market that her sugar-rush music and put-on pouty delivery appears to be aimed at, but one wonders what would happen if she really curled her lip rather than rolled over for the rave pop massive?

There is a dash of sarcasm and ambivalence in her lyrics which suggests a desire to communicate something of the real world of relationships to young girls who are otherwise being fed the princess myth. Musically she has some fun with plastic (Bertrand) punk riffs and the occasional hooky New Wave chorus; unlike those sleepy coffee table R&B types regularly punted as ‘fresh’ new talent. All she really needs to pull it off are some more distinctive songs. Until then, give me Girls Aloud’s ‘No Good Advice’ any day.

Sucker is out now, on Asylum

Charli XCX

Over-14s show. Upcoming electro pop starlet plays songs from her debut album True Romance.

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