October 2, 2013

Test Spins: Icona Pop, This is … Icona Pop

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By MIKE SOSNICK

This Swedish duo couldn’t have chosen a more apt name. The story goes that Caroline Hjelt’s mom was having a conversation with her Italian friends when one of them said (in Italian) that they were going to be “the next pop icon,” or “icona pop.” I’m here to tell you that if Icona Pop aren’t that already, they certainly will be. You’ve all heard “I Love It.” If they fizzle out as one-hit wonders, I will have lost faith in pop music. It’s rare that an album comes out that bumps as consistently hard beginning to end as does their debut LP, This Is …  Icona Pop. Literally every track (with the potential exception of the awesome pop ballad “Just Another Night,” which would still work well on the radio) could be a smash hit on the dancefloor. I can’t remember the last time it’s been so hard to control my limbs from flailing wildly for an entire 32 minute album. It has even gotten to the point that I struggle to listen to Icona Pop in public places because I worry about people staring at my so-called “dancing.” It’s that rocking.

If I was forced to pinpoint flaws in This Is…, I’d probably only find one: They shouldn’t have jam-packed a single LP with so many irresistible songs. Unless they milk singles out of this album for three years, the public will be deprived the wonder of tracks like “Ready for the World” and “On a Roll.” From the standpoint of their wallets, maybe they should have kept some of those energetic tracks in their back pockets for later. Basically, this album might be too good for the economics of pop music (unless they gain enough commercial traction to pull what Katy Perry did with Teenage Dream). As a listener, though, I’m not going to complain. Whether you’re sticking your tongue out to “Girlfriend,” making hand dolphins out a car window to “In the Stars” or violently punching the air to “Then We Kiss,” any person healthy enough to dance would find it hard not to. The consistent greatness of This Is… leads me to pin it as a top example of  dance-pop of the early 2010s with its strong female vocals, fun synths and pulsing rhythms. Sure, nobody would hesitate to call this LP mindless, mainstream pop music, but that’s exactly what it’s trying to be — and it’s succeeding brilliantly. I’m sold on Icona Pop as my new pop icon.

Mike Sosnick is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at msosnick@cornellsun.com.

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