Stuck in a Beirut apartment not feeling well. I resorted to my favourite pastime of winding people up on Twitter and Facebook when I came across an updated status that read, “I put your shit into a bag and pushed it down the stairs.” A little concerned that I might be intruding on private grief, I responded that that would make a good first line for a song or story. And it was then that my ignorance was laid bare when he responded that I should listen to Icona Pop’s song ‘I Love It.’ 90% of what’s recommended to me is rubbish and, to be honest, I wasn’t expecting this to be much different. However, the sample lyric intrigued me and the name of the band suggested a certain intelligence at work.
I’m not sure what I was expecting but it wasn’t the sugar adrenaline rush of pure pleasure at hearing someone who knew how to construct a perfect pop song. This had everything: the way memorable verse led to catchy chorus and a fantastic bridge, all perfectly constructed; a lyric that was arch and knowing ( how can you not fall in love with a song whose opening words are “I got this feeling on the summer day when you were gone / I crashed my car into the bridge. I watched, I let it burn / I threw your shit into a bag and pushed it down the stairs / I crashed my car into the bridge” and then the pay off punk, nihilism of the chorus, ” And I don’t care, I love it. I don’t care”?” And then there are the two female singers of Icona Pop, Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo, young women who sound and look as though they’re having the time of their lives.
Icona Pop are from Stockholm and this particular song appears to have been a big hit in most places apart from the UK. Ironically, one of the people behind the band is Charli XCX, or English singer-songwriter Charlotte Aitchison, who with Swedish producers Linus Eklöw and Patrik Berger (also responsible for Robyn) have written this paeon to not giving a fuck in the face of adversity. Whether they can go on to produce anything as good as this in the future is questionable but the video for another of their songs ‘Nights Like This’ suggests that there is a real artistic vision behind the frippery. In this video, there is an intermission, with no music, where the two women eat a Mexican meal; the film itself appears to catch fire and disintegrates; and then, when the video does resume, the women, stranded in a car that’s broken down, are about to be murdered by the man who has stopped to help them with a car jack. It’s an intriguing and unsettling video and far removed from most airhead pop acts.
‘I Love It’ is a song that makes you glad to be alive. It lifts up your soul, puts a smile on your face and hope in your heart. On this single, Icona Pop are truly icons of pop.