The latest mixtape from pop visionary Charli XCX is a self-aware, guest-filled bubblegum pop affair that not only works, but is a blissful triumph that demonstrates how Charli XCX makes pop music a true art form.
2017 has been an incredible year for Charli XCX. Earlier this year, she released one of the best and most underrated projects with Number 1 Angel, a mixtape that found Charli trying her hand at modern pop and hip-hop trends; during the middle of the year, she released one of the best songs of the year with “Boys;” and now, at the tail end of 2017, Charli comes through with another incredible mixtape in the form of Pop 2, a 10-track project showcasing Charli’s visionary mind for, well, pop.
During the course of Pop 2‘s 40-minute run time, Charli XCX displays her constant drive to move forward. But in order to do this, Charli gives a nod to the ostensibly absurd modern pop tropes that flood the mainstream. On standout tracks like the bubblegum trip “Unlock It,” Charli embraces the silly world of pop with lyrics like “Roller coaster ride in the fast lane, got the roof down, kiss me hard in the rain.” She breaks down the genre to its rawest form and reconstructs it in her own image, an image that moves the genre forward while simultaneously retaining its essence.
This is what makes Charli a pop revolutionary. She doesn’t just represent the progressive nature of popular music, she does it without discarding the elements naysayers cite to discredit pop as “low art” (simple lyrics, easy melodies, simplistic chord structures). Charli XCX utilizes these elements, focuses them, and makes a project every bit as complex as it is catchy and accessible. This is a feat that few can accomplish, and Charli excels every time.
Full of infectious hooks, complex soundscapes, and Charli’s undeniable charm, Pop 2 wraps up an unbelievable year for the British pop sensation, and serves as an excellent example of pop’s artistic merit.