The “big songs” were I Love It, for Icona Pop, and Fancy, with Iggy Azalea. In each case, as well as composing the tracks, Charli was also a featured artist on the recordings. Both of these songs were cocky, carefree bangers, and their sales figures were huge – way in excess of Charli’s first album, 2013’s artful True Romance. Therefore, these songs were the de facto introduction that most pop fans had to Charli XCX’s messy, emotional, addictive style. And there was a lot more where they came from. “I write – since I Love It blew up – every day. Every single day,” she said.
“I just started over-thinking things and I needed to not give a fuck”
This kind of prolific output leads to false starts and aborted projects as well as hits, and so it was in the run-up to recording Sucker. Following the release of True Romance, Charli “went to Sweden and made a punk album”. A track from these sessions, Allergic To Love (originally by Swedish act Snuffed By The Yakuza), surfaced on SoundCloud; it was one minute and 11 seconds of frenzy, like a lost 7” from 1978.
“I just started over-thinking things and I needed to not give a fuck,” Charli said of this period. “Making punk music is the perfect recipe for that. I needed to not give a shit about what was going on. I wanted to just make music and lie on the floor in the studio screaming for hours on end, getting out all of this shit that was inside of me. It worked; I think it led me to a more creative place.”
“I wrote this record for girls, and for everyone on the planet with a pussy”
That creative place birthed the songs that would become Sucker. Charli has said that Sucker would not have sounded the way it did without the punk album. “It morphed into a new thing,” she said. “It hasn’t gone away completely or anything, and I transferred a lot of it over to the main record.” It feels, particularly, that the emancipatory urge of punk’s female energy stayed with her: that which infuses records by The Slits, Liliput, and X-Ray Spex, for example. Or, as Charli bluntly put it, “I wrote this record for girls, and for everyone on the planet with a pussy.”