Pop Love

Mika's new album is surprisingly sunnier than its predecessors, while Icona Pop make a splashy, sassy debut

By Doug Rule
Published on November 1, 2012, 1:33am | Comments

(Page 2 of 2)

BEFORE HURRICANE SANDY, New York City was ravaged by Hurricane CMJ. CMJ Music Marathon is an annual music festival devoted to discovering new talent, originally created decades ago by the College Music Journal for taste-making college radio programmers. The festival has grown well beyond those college days to become nearly as significant for music insiders – if not as mainstream – as Austin's South by Southwest festival. In recent years CMJ has helped propel acts such as Arcade Fire and Alabama Shakes to mainstream acclaim.

This year's CMJ find? Yet another Swedish dance-pop act, Icona Pop, which got some serious club play over the summer with its punky Spice Girls-styled anthem ''(I Don't Care) I Love It.'' Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt, the two young women who comprise Icona Pop, performed numerous times at CMJ two weeks ago, each show more impossible to get into than the last thanks to tremendous buzz.

The duo also released the appealing six-song Iconic EP the week of CMJ, which no doubt added fuel to their buzz fire. No two songs sound alike on the sassy set, which gives a taste of what's to come on next year's full-length debut. The set includes Icona Pop's bewitching, twitchy current single ''Ready for the Weekend.'' There's also the taunting ''Top Rated,'' which calls to mind Ke$ha – if Ke$ha had brains – and, uh, balls – and not just brawn. ''Try take me down, I'll be right up,'' the girls chant. ''Always been top rated, you think you can change it?''

Iconic EP
Big Beat Records/Atlantic
starstarstar 1/2

I have no desire to change it.

DOWNLOAD THESE: ''I Love It,'' ''Ready for the Weekend,'' ''Top Rated''