Icona Pop is a dynamic Swedish electro-pop duo known for their infectious tunes and high-energy performances. Comprised of Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo, they burst onto the music scene in the early 2010s and quickly gained recognition for their chart-topping hit "I Love It," featuring Charli XCX. Icona Pop's music is characterized by catchy melodies, pulsating beats, and empowering lyrics that often celebrate themes of friendship, independence, and living in the moment. Last week, the duo released their third studio album, Club Romantech. SOUND Icona Pop starts the album with an extraordinary pop dance anthem titled "Fall In Love." This track ignites a techno-infused atmosphere, setting the stage for an exhilarating musical journey. As the pulsating beats and infectious melodies of "Fall In Love" envelop the listener, they are transported into a world where love and music collide, creating an electrifying fusion that's impossible to resist. But the electrifying journey doesn't end there. The album continues to push the boundaries of dance music, taking listeners to the ultimate dance rave during "Desire." This track features a thrilling collaboration with Joel Correy and Pain Radio, creating a sonic experience that is nothing short of epic. The pounding basslines, euphoric synths, and captivating vocals create an irresistible energy that compels you to hit the dance floor and lose yourself in the music. With "Desire," Icona Pop delivers a sonic masterpiece and invites listeners to embark on a euphoric adventure where the power of music explores the boundaries of romance and desire.
The theme of electrifying romance seems to be a recurring motif that weaves its way through Club Romantech. One standout example of this theme can be found in the track "You're Free," a captivating piece that truly shines on the album. This song maintains the album's high-energy atmosphere and introduces an unforgettable collaboration with the renowned artist Ultra Nate. "You're Free" wastes no time grabbing your attention with its pulsating, high-rhythmic beats that set a heart-pounding tempo from the first note. The dynamic combination of these beats and driving bassline creates a sonic landscape that's impossible to resist. It's a track that beckons you to surrender to the music, to let loose and embrace the liberating power of dance.
Icona Pop has firmly established itself as the industry's preeminent maestros of techno dance music, a distinction that resonates consistently throughout their album. Notably, tracks like "Loving You Ain't Easy" and "Faster" exemplify their unwavering commitment to the beat over lyrical intricacies. In "Loving You Ain't Easy" and "Faster," Icona Pop's dedication to the groove is palpable. These tracks prioritize the power of rhythm, infusing an unrelenting energy that compels you to move. While the lyrics undoubtedly contribute to the narrative, the beat remains at the forefront, driving the emotional resonance of each composition. This prioritization of the beat over lyrics is emblematic of Icona Pop's distinctive style. Their music is a testament to the belief that sometimes, the pulsing heart of the music communicates the most profound emotions. It's an invitation to lose yourself in the visceral experience of the music, allowing the beats to move your body and soul.
The final track, "Spa," takes listeners on an extraordinary journey, whisking them away to a galactic realm where the mesmerizing rhythms of slow-beat techno reign supreme. This standout piece features the enchanting vocals of Sofi Tukker, an illustrious musical duo composed of the immensely talented Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern. In "Spa," the ethereal power of Sofi Tukker's vocals casts a spell of haunting beauty, serving as the guiding star on this interstellar odyssey. Sophie Hawley-Weld's voice, reminiscent of celestial constellations, adds enchanting to the already captivating music. Like stardust gently scattered across the cosmic canvas, her vocal presence creates an intoxicating and comforting aura that transports you to an otherworldly realm.
Tucker's voice rises with the cosmic soundscape and is a resounding bass barrier throughout the song. It's a sonic force that immediately beckons you to move and dance. The contrast between Sophie's ethereal vocals and Tucker's grounding bass creates a mesmerizing, captivating, and exhilarating dynamic. As "Spa" unfolds, the boundaries between reality and the dreamscape become indistinguishable. Time seems to lose its grip, allowing you to savor each moment of this cosmic voyage. The slow-beat techno rhythms provide a steady pulse akin to the beating heart of the universe, guiding you through a mesmerizing finale of the album.
LYRICS Icona Pop stands out prominently in the music industry due to its steadfast dedication to maintaining the infectious, rhythmic dance vibes that have become the hallmark of its distinctive musical identity. This commitment is often showcased at the forefront, prioritizing the captivating energy of the music over complex and intricate lyrical narratives.
However, Club Romantech introduces a noteworthy departure from their typical lyrical simplicity in a track called "Stockholm At Night." In this particular song, Icona Pop weaves a poignant lyrical narrative that stands out amidst the album's groove-oriented tracks. The lyrics evoke a sense of nostalgia and heartache with lines like, "Head out the window, I'm stargazing like we used to / I didn't think I would lose you, but I guess I was wrong / Past your apartment where we ended and started / I think I left a part of my heart in your bedroom." These poignant lyrics counter the album's otherwise relentless energy, offering a moment of introspection and emotion.
Icona Pop's music throughout the album becomes a conduit for unadulterated joy and euphoria with each beat and melody. Their songs are not just auditory experiences but also invitations to embrace the pulsating rhythms and let loose in the world of dance. It's a testament to their ability to connect with audiences on a visceral level, where the music becomes a shared language of celebration and liberation.
ART BEHIND THE ALBUM Icona Pop masterfully employs beats and melodies as their canvas for artistic expression, transcending mere auditory delight to evoke profound emotions and inspire physical movement. Their music encapsulates a unique ability to harness rhythmic and melodic elements, fashioning their audience a visceral and all-encompassing journey.
In a conversation with Forbes, Icona Pop shared the album's genesis, stemming from a period of creation that coincided with the birth of a child. The album took on a particularly poignant significance as they simultaneously navigated the realms of parenthood and musical composition. As Hjelt reflects, "This album becomes even more extraordinary for us because it emerged during such a beautiful and unconventional phase in our lives, filled with intense emotions." Through their music, the album conveys the profound message that love manifests in myriad forms, from the cadence of a song to the celebration of life itself.
Icona Pop earns a 7/10 on the Intersect Rating Scale for their electric release, Club Romantech. Stream this album below.