Hello, and welcome to Radio Rants. New face today, right?
Icona Pop’s a Swedish duo form in 2009, and while “I Love It” got some online praise last year–Pitchfork and Rolling Stone put it in their top 50 songs of 2012–it didn’t set the world on fire until this year when it started appearing in (deep breath): Snooki and JWoww as the theme song, an episode of Girls, another episode of The Vampire Diaries, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, cell phone commercials, website commercials, Glee, movie promos, projected onto the sides of big city buildings, shot into space, and in the State of the Union Address. At this point, you’re just as likely to hear it on your TV as you are the radio.
I get the broad appeal; “I Love It” has a little something for everyone. The P-fork crowd can swoon over the Euro-EDM and sneered vocals, it’s impossible to keep still since the song is 70% massive dance hooks, and the simple chorus of “I don’t care/I love it” gets enough reverb to sound like an army’s singing it, not two people, making it a natural sing/shout along. And, with a runtime below three minutes, it never burns itself out during one listen. That and the song’s just so damn fun.
The song opens with a wave of synth buzz before giving way to the…verse? Not exactly, since it uses the same lyrics as the chorus, but the music here uses a quieter beat and keyboard combo than the all out assault used in the chorus. More than most songs, “I Love It” doesn’t follow a verse-chorus-bridge structure as much as a not chorus-chorus one where the not-chorus exists just as a quick breather so that the meat of the song doesn’t lose its punch.
And what a punch it has. Over an announcement of “I don’t care!”, the intro synth comes crashing back in with a dance beat underneath it and vocals pumped up to eleven. The wide-eyed and blissed out music, layered and processed vocals, and singsong bratty melody sound like MGMT before they started trying to alienate as many casual fans as possible. The beat and synths initially lure you in, but the brash vocals are what turn it from a decent club banger to the wild hit it’s become.
By the way, what are those vocals saying?
“I got this feeling on a summer day when you were gone” Oh hey, it’s a breakup song. Are we gonna get into some good ole fashioned revenge?
“I crashed my car into the bridge/I watched, I let it burn” Maybe the ex bought them the car and that’s why they’re ok with it? Otherwise…at least you didn’t crash your car off the bridge.
“I threw your shit into a bag and threw it down the stairs” Hell yeah, now we’re getting to “Fuck You!” territory!
“You’re so damn hard to please, we’ve gotta kill this switch/You’re from the 70s, but I’m a 90s chick” Yeah, Icona Pop, you break up with that douche because no one knows about cheap nostalgia like a 90s chick! Wait, “90s chick“? Oh no, you don’t end the last line with “switch” and then go with “chick”. Kids, cover your ears, can we get the unedited version, please?
“You’re from the 70s, but I’m a 90s bitch!” There we go, much better.
Those are the only lyrics worth noting to “I Love It”. There’s a pair of lines about being better than the ex, but those are the only ones I skipped. We’re not looking at a Dylan tune here, but eh, the delivery without abandon works for the song.
Let’s not make any bones about it, “I Love It” is empty calories even by pop standards, but you know what? Sometimes you want those empty calories. Not every dance has to be a “Mirrors” or “Get Lucky”; sometimes you just want that Twix instead of Godiva. “I Love It” probably won’t go down as a classic, but it sustain itself long enough to be this year’s “Pumped Up Kicks” or “Lights”: the left-field summer jam that everyone likes.
[ed: Credit for “90s chick” joke goes to Michelle B.]