Even if Icona Pop‘s new Iconic EP consisted of “I Love It” repeated six times, it would still be amazing. The Swedish duo’s single, penned by Charli XCX, is that good. When “I Love It” first surfaced in May, I described the production as “amped-up Bananarama crossed with the elastic beat of Martin Solveig’s “Hello.’” How can you top that?
But there’s more to love on Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt’s debut release for Big Beat Records, even if much of it isn’t really new. Three songs on Iconic — “Manners,” “Top Rated,” and “Sun Goes Down” — will be familiar to fans closely following Icona Pop’s output over the last couple of years. But as these are the tracks that made the young electropop pair the toast of the blogosphere (and let’s go ahead and include the much-lauded “I Love It”), titling the EP Iconic isn’t as hubristic as it is cheeky.
Co-written and produced by Patrik Berger (Robyn, The Good Natured), ”Manners” put Jawo and Hjelt’s musical partnership on the map back in 2010, appeared as a double-A side with “Top Rated” in early 2011, and later appeared with “Sun Goes Down” on the same year’s Nights Like This EP. With that set since removed (like Sky Ferreira’s As If EP), why the superlative title track didn’t also rate a repeat on Iconic is a mystery and a miss. “Manners” remains untouched here — excepting an uncredited lift from Taylor Swift – but “Top Rated” and “Sun Goes Down” have both been freshened up for Iconic, with St. Lucia now joining The Knocks as collaborators on the latter. The feisty pop of “Top Rated,” co-written and produced by ElofLoelv (Niki & The Dove), is still a fave.
“Ready For The Weekend” and “Good For You” are the newest tracks on this Iconic six-pack. I’ve warmed up to “Weekend” after a few spins though I still expect more from Icona Pop than carbon-copy Calvin Harris dance-pop (the Scottish DJ/producer has an altogether different track with the same title). The duo do win some style points for the church vespers intro and the mournful outro on “Ready For The Weekend,” however.
“Good For You” showcases Icona Pop’s personality in spades. Cannily kicking straight off with the chorus and brushed with a tropical touch — Jawo and Hjelt did mash up Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita” with “Nights Like This,” lest we forget — “Good For You” is a midtempo tease that meets the high bar set by its older Iconic cousins.