FUCK YOU, SUCKER: The Definitive Review
Fuck you, Anthony Fantano. You know you’re wrong. You know it.
I’ve written before on the merits of pop music, so rather than again defending that dead horse I’m going to simply talk about the new Charli XCX record, Sucker.
Sucker, as I’ve previously stated, is a pop album for a grittier, darker generation. While other pop artists are being self-deprecating to bubblegum beats, or trying to be zany and just looking stupid, or straight-up jumping on the EDM money train, Charli XCX draws from the underbelly of London’s grimy electronic music culture, adds a healthy dose of pop punk, and throws in a dash of pop sensibility to create a unique offering in the contemporary music scene.
From its opening moments, Sucker tells you exactly what kind of album it’s going to be. The chorus of the title track that starts off the album shouts out “FUCK YOU, SUCKER!” with a perfect combination of aggression and playfulness. Synths and real instruments weave in and out of each other to create a diametric atmosphere of raw energy and modern fluidity, and Charli XCX’s “go fuck yourself” attitude shines through and above it all.
For those of you who enjoy a more old-school vibe in their pop, Charli XCX more than delivers. The song “Doing It” is a groovy blend of slap bass and 80s style synths — something the whole family can bob their side-ponytails to while seeing just how gaudy they can make their spandex.
But if “Doing It” is Charli XCX’s nod to 80s pop, then “Breaking Up” is her counter. Laden with distorted guitar and raw production, “Breaking Up” showcases the UK scene in which Charli XCX clearly had been steeped her whole life.
This darker influence is palpable throughout the entirety of the album, but is best showcased on the juvenile rebellion anthem, “Break The Rules.” The dirty bass, the driving beat, the epic buildup climaxing in a catchy-as-hell synth line all come together perfectly to create the album’s crowning achievement that will bring you back to your high school days of being angry with your parents for providing for you, being angry with the system for educating you, and being angry with your teenage peers for . . . something, I guess.
Having sung this album’s praises into the Porcelain Throne, I also have to do a bit of pre-emptive flushing. I have two criticisms of this album: first, the lyrics are vapid. Charli XCX clearly puts more energy into creating a mood than thinking about wordsmithing. Looking at the lyrics separate from the songs would probably turn me off of the album completely, but in the context of the music and Charli XCX’s delivery, they seem to work — or at least I can ignore their blatant stupidity. And second: “Boom Clap.” That song fucking sucks.
Considering I hadn’t heard the entire album by the time it made my year-end list, I think everyone will know the verdict of my review here. Check this album out, if you already haven’t. Even if you don’t end up liking it, hearing unique popular music is rare enough that it will feel like a breath of fresh air.