Album Review: Charli XCX’s ‘Sucker’

Annie Zaleski

Three and a half stars

Charli XCX Sucker

In 2014, future-pop purveyor Charli XCX finally broke through into the mainstream, between her hook on Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” and the success of the electro-froth hit “Boom Clap.” The Brit’s second album, Sucker, should bolster her ascent even more; the LP splits the difference between impeccable radio earworms and transgressive pop music. Working with collaborators like Ariel Pink, Greg Kurstin and Benny Blanco, Charli touches on attitude-laden electro-punk (the title track, “Break the Rules”), girl-group doo-wop (“Need Ur Luv”), Technicolor Brit-pop (“Breaking Up”) and pogo-worthy new wave (the cheeky, fame-admiring “London Queen,” No Doubt-punky “Famous”). The ’90s-rock throwback “Hanging Around” even has a loopy, Weezer-esque vibe, perhaps thanks to Rivers Cuomo’s co-writing credit. While Sucker peters out near the end—blame the pedestrian-sounding midtempo pop cuts “Die Tonight” and “Caught In the Middle”—overall the record serves as a sterling display of Charli XCX’s knack for twisting the retro and contemporary into something fresh.

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