Charli XCX gets straight to the point of her third album, Sucker, with the opening song of the same name by breaking down her bottom line, which is fun, liberation and vindication. The lyrics, "Head bang/Pink rocks/Gold fangs/I'm a killer now/I'm a killer now/Oh dear god, do you get me now?/Do you get me now?" make all of this abundantly clear.
This motif is continued with "Break the Rules," an ardent expression of wanting to rebel as she insists, "I don't wanna go to school/I just wanna break the rules/Putting on our dancing shoes/Going to the discotheque/Getting high and getting wrecked." It's yet another indication of her youthful exuberance that one can find contagious even when they're too old to be listening to this album.
The bouncy, feel good-ness of "London Queen" features an 80s tinge with its Ramones-inspired "oy, oy" shouting mixed with the outsider perspective of: "I never thought I'd be livin' in the USA/Doin' things the American way/Livin' the dream like a London queen." Considering Ariel Pink contributed to some of the lyrics, it's no wonder there's a backbeat that pays homage to the surreal.
Joining the ranks of the great breakup anthems, "Breaking Up" is an empowering track that insists, "Everything was wrong with you/Breaking up was easy to do/Hate your friends and your family too." The accompanying video for "Breaking Up" shows Charli XCX moving onto the reckless phase of her post-breakup life with ease and carefreeness.
"Gold Coins" is another anthemic track, albeit for the Paris Hilton set. Touting, "My platinum troubles are drownin' in pink champagne/Gold coins out the window/I'm spendin' like I don't care," Charli XCX lives out every poor girl's fantasy by adhering to the recently revised adage, "Girls just want to have funds."
"Boom Clap," which you may recognize as the only remotely edgy aspect of The Fault in Our Stars as it appeared on the soundtrack, features jubilant beats and vibrant vocals as Charli XCX compares the sound of her heart to the words "boom clap," not to be confused with the clap. The suggestively titled "Doing It" bears no resemblance to the LL Cool J song of the same name. Instead, it has musical overtones of late 80s Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey with its fanciful keyboard sounds in the background as Charli XCX sings, "We stayin' all night/Never so down/I think we better do it like we're doin' it now."
"Body Of My Own" is an independent declaration of how "I don't need you/I touch myself better." Yes, it's been a long time since there was a decent song championing masturbation--it certainly wasn't Britney Spears' "Touch of My Hand." Complaining that, "You're so damn cold, you got no feelin'/I want my man hotter," Charli XCX looks to herself for sexual gratification. "Famous" opens with an addictive riff that reels you in right away. Espousing the desire to be among the crowds and the blinding lights, Charli XCX announces, "Need some neon lights/Wanna feel like I'm electrified" and then makes the somewhat cheeky analogy, "We're so shameless/Just like we're famous."
"Hanging Around" is the perfect song for anyone who has ever felt the ennui of being trapped in one place for too long, particularly adolescents feeling trapped in their sequestered bubble. Charli XCX opens the track with, "Help me out/I need escape/It's the truth I need to go." The pain and agony of being "too bored hanging around" is something that resonates across the ages.
"So Over You" only appears on the European version of the album, so why bother tormenting American listeners with a description of it? But at least you can console yourself over not being European with "Die Tonight," which has echoes of Ke$ha's "Die Young," both in theme and tone. Shouting, "Oh, I could die tonight 'cause I got the magic in my blood and I'm stayin' till the sun comes," Charli XCX owns the confidence of her youth with ease and empowerment.
"Caught in the Middle" tells the tale of two hearts getting "caught in the middle of love" and the desire to "press rewind" to the part where the heartbreak element wasn't a part of the fallout of love. But the ease with which we give in to the initial pleasure of love is too great to ignore, elucidated by the lyric, "We tried to turn around, but we can't stop it now."
"Need Ur Love" possesses the vibe of a 60s doo-wop song with its sugary sweet tone in spite of singing lovelorn lyrics like, "I need your love/I need it even when it hurts me." By far the greatest departure from the content of the rest of the album, this concluding track makes one hope Charli XCX will take an Amy Winehouse Back to Black approach on her next record. Though it wouldn't be the worst thing if she stuck to her current nouveau riot grrl meets pop diva style.