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Charli Xcx - SUCKER

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SUCKER

Charli XCX

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For a while, Charli XCX seemed to be tiptoeing into the spotlight. After co-writing and singing on Icona Pop's smash hit "I Love It," her album True Romance -- which had a darker, indie-friendly sound -- earned more acclaim than sales. Her next big break came with another collaboration, 2014's inescapable "Fancy," where she provided the sing-songy chorus to Iggy Azalea's brash verses. On Sucker, she keeps more of that hit-making swagger for herself, delivering attention-getting pop that's bold enough to ensure she isn't overshadowed by anybody. She makes her purpose clear with the album's title track, a musical middle finger to the clueless set to revved-up synths and stabbing guitars. It's a big change from the gothy pop of True Romance, though even on that album, XCX's hooks were undeniable. Sucker is also full of should-be hits, but these songs also show how creatively she fashions the shiniest parts of the '80s, '90s, 2000s, and 2010s into her own highly stylized sound. "Famous" bops along on a riff that nods to Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"; there's a bit of Elastica in "Breaking Up"'s buzzsaw guitars and flirty put-downs; "Caught in the Middle" could be vintage Gwen Stefani; and "Doing It"'s retro dance-pop feels equally informed by XCX's own fascination with the '90s and HAIM's update on that decade. Similarly, Charli still exudes plenty of sass on Sucker, but the exact kind of attitude has changed. She retrofits some of True Romance's atmosphere on "Boom Clap," turning it into a sparkly anthem to young love that seems more innocent than it actually is. If she was trying to keep up with the hip kids before, now she sounds like an older sister sharing her tricks on "Break the Rules," where she's literally too cool for school. Anytime it feels like XCX may have oversimplified her sound -- like the notable absence of one of her finest singles, "Superlove" -- she proves otherwise. There's a realness to her writing no matter how shiny the album's surfaces are, and while these songs are influenced by the success she's had with others, she's saved her most personal songs for herself. It's hard to imagine any of her collaborators or contemporaries belting out a lyric like "When I'm driving down the wrong side of the road, I feel like JFK you know" with as much mischievous glee as Charli does on the standout "London Queen"; later, she states her independence, sexual and otherwise, on "Body of My Own." From song to song, she bounces from hanging out in her friends' bedroom to flying on private jets, making both sound like the coolest possible thing to do. Sucker's mix of youth and sophistication is more than a little volatile, and sometimes it feels like XCX is still figuring out what really works for her music. Nevertheless, it succeeds as an introduction to Charli XCX the Pop Star while retaining her whip-smart songwriting and attitude.
© Heather Phares /TiVo

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SUCKER

Charli Xcx

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1
Sucker
00:02:43

Rob Orton, Mixer - Stuart Hawkes, Mastering Engineer - Charli Xcx, Executive Producer, Vocals, MainArtist - Jerry James, Producer, Engineer, Bass Guitar, Drum Programmer - Jeremiah Raisen, Writer - Caleb Laven, Editor - Tony Lake, Additional Engineer - Charlotte Aitchison p/k/a Charli XCX, Writer - Justin L. Raisen, Producer, Engineer, Guitar, Backing Vocals, Writer, Drum Programmer, Synthesizer

© 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company ℗ 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company

2
Break the Rules
00:03:24

Tor Erik Hermansen, Writer - Steve Mac, Producer, Keyboards, Writer - Mikkel Eriksen, Writer - Chris Laws, Drums, Engineer - Rob Orton, Mixer - Stuart Hawkes, Mastering Engineer - StarGate, Producer - Charli Xcx, Executive Producer, Lead Vocals, MainArtist - Steve Pearce, Bass Guitar - Dan Omelio, Writer - Daniel Pursey, Engineer, Percussion - Daniel Omelio, Guitar - Charlotte Aitchison, Writer - Cashmere Cat, Producer, Programmer - Magnus August Höiberg, Writer - Bea Rexstrew, Backing Vocals - Katie Littlewood, Backing Vocals - Kirstin Hume, Backing Vocals - Macy McCutcheon, Backing Vocals - Tony Lake, Additional Engineer

© 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company ℗ 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company

3
London Queen
00:02:51

Stuart Hawkes, Mastering Engineer - David Schiffman, Mixer - Charli Xcx, Executive Producer, Lead Vocals, MainArtist - Ariel Pink, Backing Vocals, Synthesizer, Harmonica - Remi Nicole, Backing Vocals, Writer - Jerry James, Engineer, Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals - Jeremiah Raisen, Writer - Caleb Laven, Editor - Shags Chamberlain, Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals - Ariel Rosenberg, Writer - Charlotte Aitchison p/k/a Charli XCX, Writer - Justin L. Raisen, Producer, Engineer, Guitar, Backing Vocals, Writer, Drum Programmer, Synthesizer

© 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company ℗ 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company

4
Breaking Up
00:02:18

Patrik Berger, Producer, Programmer, Writer, Instruments - John Hill, Co-Producer - Rob Orton, Mixer - Stuart Hawkes, Mastering Engineer - John Morrical, Engineer - Charli Xcx, Executive Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Martin Cooke, Engineer - Markus Krunegård, Piano, Backing Vocals, Writer - Chris Kasych, Engineer - Nick Meul, Engineer - Noonie Bao, Additional Vocals, Writer - Remi Nicole, Backing Vocals - Tony Lake, Additional Engineer - Matthew Ecless, Drums

© 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company ℗ 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company

5
Gold Coins
00:03:02

Keefus Ciancia, Additional Keyboards - Patrik Berger, Producer, Programmer, Writer, Instruments - John Hill, Producer - Stuart Hawkes, Mastering Engineer - Mark "Spike" Stent, Mixer - Charli Xcx, Executive Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Chris Kasych, Engineer - Stefan Graslund, Additional Producer, Programmer, Writer - Geoff Swan, Mixer

© 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company ℗ 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company

6
Boom Clap
00:02:50

Patrik Berger, Producer, Writer - Fredrik Berger, Writer - Rob Orton, Mixer - Stuart Hawkes, Mastering Engineer - Charli Xcx, Executive Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Stefan Graslund, Producer, Writer - Tony Lake, Additional Engineer

© 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company ℗ 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company

7
Doing It (feat. Rita Ora)
00:03:49

Jarrad Rogers, Writer - Rob Orton, Mixer - Stuart Hawkes, Mastering Engineer - Ariel Rechtshaid, Producer, Programmer, Writer - Rita Ora, FeaturedArtist - Mr. Rogers, Producer, Drums, Engineer, Bass Guitar, Programmer - Charli Xcx, Executive Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Matthew Burns, Writer - Noonie Bao, Backing Vocals, Writer - Tony Lake, Additional Engineer

© 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company ℗ 2015 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company

8
Body of My Own
00:02:45

Patrik Berger, Producer, Engineer, Programmer, Writer, Instruments - DAVE SCHIFFMAN, Mixer - Stuart Hawkes, Mastering Engineer - Charli Xcx, Executive Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Christian Olsson, Producer, Programmer, Instruments - Christian Ohlsson, Writer

© 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company ℗ 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company

9
Famous
00:03:52

Greg Kurstin, Producer, Engineer, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Writer - Stuart Hawkes, Mastering Engineer - Mark "Spike" Stent, Mixer - Charli Xcx, Executive Producer, Lead Vocals, MainArtist - Geoff Swan, Mixer - Aaron Redfield, Drums - alex pasco, Additional Engineer - Julian Burg, Additional Engineer - Charlotte Aitchison p/k/a Charli XCX, Writer

© 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company ℗ 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company

10
Hanging Around
00:03:18

Rivers Cuomo, Writer - Stuart Hawkes, Mastering Engineer - David Schiffman, Mixer - Nick Rowe, Editor - Charli Xcx, Executive Producer, Lead Vocals, MainArtist - Jeremiah Raisen, Writer - Charlotte Aitchison p/k/a Charli XCX, Writer - Justin L. Raisen, Producer, Engineer, Guitar, Writer, Drum Programmer, Synthesizer

© 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company ℗ 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company

11
So over You
00:03:09

Benjamin Levin, Writer - Benny Blanco, Producer, Instruments - Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer - Rob Orton, Mixer - Stuart Hawkes, Mastering Engineer - Mark "Spike" Stent, Mixer - Naughty Boy, Producer, Writer, Instruments - Charli Xcx, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Stefan Graslund, Producer - Chris "Anger Management" Sclafani, Engineer - Geoff Swan, Assistant Mixer

© 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company ℗ 2015 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company

12
Die Tonight
00:02:51

Andrew Wyatt, Backing Vocals, Writer - Patrik Berger, Producer, Engineer, Programmer, Backing Vocals, Writer, Instruments - Rob Orton, Mixer - Rostam Batmanglij, Writer - Stuart Hawkes, Mastering Engineer - Pontus Winnberg, Writer - Lars Skoglund, Drums - Charli Xcx, Executive Producer, Lead Vocals, MainArtist - Markus Krunegård, Programmer, Backing Vocals, Writer, Instruments - Noonie Bao, Writer - Tony Lake, Engineer - Charlotte Aitchison p/k/a Charli XCX, Writer - Martin Stilling, Engineer, Programmer, Instruments

© 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company ℗ 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company

13
Caught in the Middle
00:03:02

Benjamin Levin, Writer - Benny Blanco, Producer, Programmer, Instruments - Stuart Hawkes, Mastering Engineer - Mark "Spike" Stent, Mixer - Nick Van Hofwegen, Writer - Charli Xcx, Executive Producer, Lead Vocals, MainArtist - Chris "Anger Management" Sclafani, Engineer - Geoff Swan, Mixer - Young & Sick, Producer, Programmer - Charlotte Aitchison p/k/a Charli XCX, Writer

© 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company ℗ 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company

14
Need Ur Luv
00:03:46

Andrew Wyatt, Backing Vocals, Writer - Rob Orton, Mixer - Rostam Batmanglij, Producer, Writer - Stuart Hawkes, Mastering Engineer - Charli Xcx, Executive Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Andrew Blakemore, Backing Vocals - Noonie Bao, Backing Vocals, Writer - Sarah Chernoff, Backing Vocals - Tony Lake, Additional Engineer - Angel Deradoorian, Backing Vocals

© 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company ℗ 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company

15
Red Balloon Bonus Track
00:03:29

Tor Erik Hermansen, Programmer, Writer, Instruments - Mikkel S. Eriksen, Programmer, Instruments, Audio Recording Engineer - Mikkel Eriksen, Writer - Miles Walker, Audio Recording Engineer - PHIL TAN, Mixer - StarGate, Producer - Charli Xcx, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Daniela Rivera, Additional Engineer - Cashmere Cat, Producer, Programmer, Instruments - Magnus Hoiberg, Writer

© 2014 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company ℗ 2015 Asylum Records UK, a division of Atlantic Records UK. A Warner Music Group company

Descrizione dell'album

For a while, Charli XCX seemed to be tiptoeing into the spotlight. After co-writing and singing on Icona Pop's smash hit "I Love It," her album True Romance -- which had a darker, indie-friendly sound -- earned more acclaim than sales. Her next big break came with another collaboration, 2014's inescapable "Fancy," where she provided the sing-songy chorus to Iggy Azalea's brash verses. On Sucker, she keeps more of that hit-making swagger for herself, delivering attention-getting pop that's bold enough to ensure she isn't overshadowed by anybody. She makes her purpose clear with the album's title track, a musical middle finger to the clueless set to revved-up synths and stabbing guitars. It's a big change from the gothy pop of True Romance, though even on that album, XCX's hooks were undeniable. Sucker is also full of should-be hits, but these songs also show how creatively she fashions the shiniest parts of the '80s, '90s, 2000s, and 2010s into her own highly stylized sound. "Famous" bops along on a riff that nods to Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"; there's a bit of Elastica in "Breaking Up"'s buzzsaw guitars and flirty put-downs; "Caught in the Middle" could be vintage Gwen Stefani; and "Doing It"'s retro dance-pop feels equally informed by XCX's own fascination with the '90s and HAIM's update on that decade. Similarly, Charli still exudes plenty of sass on Sucker, but the exact kind of attitude has changed. She retrofits some of True Romance's atmosphere on "Boom Clap," turning it into a sparkly anthem to young love that seems more innocent than it actually is. If she was trying to keep up with the hip kids before, now she sounds like an older sister sharing her tricks on "Break the Rules," where she's literally too cool for school. Anytime it feels like XCX may have oversimplified her sound -- like the notable absence of one of her finest singles, "Superlove" -- she proves otherwise. There's a realness to her writing no matter how shiny the album's surfaces are, and while these songs are influenced by the success she's had with others, she's saved her most personal songs for herself. It's hard to imagine any of her collaborators or contemporaries belting out a lyric like "When I'm driving down the wrong side of the road, I feel like JFK you know" with as much mischievous glee as Charli does on the standout "London Queen"; later, she states her independence, sexual and otherwise, on "Body of My Own." From song to song, she bounces from hanging out in her friends' bedroom to flying on private jets, making both sound like the coolest possible thing to do. Sucker's mix of youth and sophistication is more than a little volatile, and sometimes it feels like XCX is still figuring out what really works for her music. Nevertheless, it succeeds as an introduction to Charli XCX the Pop Star while retaining her whip-smart songwriting and attitude.
© Heather Phares /TiVo

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