By Mallory Haynes
You may not be aware, but Charli XCX is one of the most hardworking women in the pop music. In 2017 alone, she released two mixtapes while also dropping a single, “Boys,” and featuring on multiple songs throughout the year. Charli is constantly recording, writing, and directing music videos – and she never ceases to create something unique; something never-before-seen within the pop genre. This was definitely the case with her second mixtape, Pop 2, which dropped mid-December of 2017. Produced by A.G. Cook, Pop 2 experiments heavily with unique electronic sounds to create a mixtape that’s completely unique. The pop star uses autotune on her voice throughout the majority of the tracks, but it causes them to flow cohesively as a whole. The mixtape also features a multitude of artists, ranging from pop princess Carly Rae Jepsen, to breakout rapper CupcakKe.
The album begins with “Backseat,” a duet featuring Charli and Jepsen. This ballad will have you singing “All alone, all alone, all alone,” all day. The duet helps to set one of the main themes of Pop 2 – partying to forget heartbreak. The theme continues into the next track, “Out of My Head,” a catchy party anthem featuring electro-pop artist Tove Lo and breakout pop artist Alma. This was the first song to be released from Pop 2, giving us a glimpse into an album full electronic synths and features from some of Charli’s’ favorite artists. “Lucky,” the mixtape’s third track, has a sadder and slower tone than the rest of the mixtape, but its autotune and electronic echoes make it fit right into the mix. This ballad fades into “Tears,” which features Caroline Polachek. Something so unique about this track is the trap beat and a long, drawn out scream in the background, which adds a deep level of emotion to the song.
Next is “I Got It,” one of the most outstanding tracks on the mixtape. This song features Brooke Candy, CupcakKe, and Brazilian drag queen Pabllo Vittar. Candy opens the song with “Big t*ts / Double d’s / No silicone and no saline,” showing that this club banger is all about confidence and flaunting what you’ve got. Good luck getting “I Got It” out of your head, even after just one listen. Charli recruits Dorian Electra and Mykki Blanco to serve some feminist realness on “Femmebot.” “I get what I want / Like it or not,” Charli sings, telling her lover that she is in charge. The robotic sounds playing in the background, mixed with the contagious beat and chorus make it unique. With “Delicious,” featuring Estonian rapper Tommy Cash, Charli produces what her fans believe to be some of her best work ever. In the middle of Cash’s verse, his phone “rings” – the “ringtone” being Charli’s hit song “Boom Clap.” Charli “answers,” completely switching up the tempo to deliver us a mind-blowing bridge. Moving right along into “Unlock It,” the most bubblegum-pop-sounding track on the mixtape, Charli gives us a sweet, adventurous love song. Featuring Kim Petras and Jay Park, we are taken on a “Rollercoaster ride / In the fast lane,” but the car ride does not stop there. With the next track, “Porsche,” Charli and MØ tell us how they have been “Fantasizing ‘bout a Porsche,” while calling an ex-lover out for being a little too obsessed with money. This track is essential, because it explores important themes while also making you want to dance. Finally, we move to “Track 10,” which is arguably the most important track on the album. The electronic elements in this song alone are enough to move one to tears. “I blame it on your love / Every time I f*ck it up,” Charli echoes, her voice straining toward the end of the song, creating more tension and emotion with each passing second. “Track 10” ends the album on a perfect note, reminding us that Charli is changing the future of pop music with her creativity and unique use of electronic elements. Though Pop 2 was released at the end of 2017, the mixtape is definitely a must-listen for 2018, and is unlike any pop album that has ever been released. Look out for Charli in the future, because she will not stop altering and innovating pop music anytime soon.