Overplayed Song of the Week: Icona Pop ft. Charli XCX, ‘I Love It’

Weeks on Chart: 13
Peak: No. 9 on Billboard’s Hot 100, this week
Current Radio Play Frequency: No. 10 on KIIS-FM’s Playlist

YouTube Hit Count: 16,277,202 at time of publication

[Lyrics]

I’ve been trying to figure out if there’s anything important to say about “I Love It” for about a month now, other than the interesting footnote that Lena Dunham now apparently has influence over mainstream radio play (I heard “I Love It” on KIIS-FM for the first time the day after “Bad Friend” aired). I suppose it’s interesting that Icona Pop graduated from the music blogs to the Billboard charts in a matter of months, but that doesn’t excite me the way most mainstream-crashing songs do, because whenever I hear this song I have the overwhelming sense that it’s trying to sell me something I can’t exactly put my finger on. It’s already been used in advertisements for smartphones and mail-order shoes, but there’s no reason to stop there — it also sounds like energy drinks, casual dining chains, and new-wave tampons. It sounds weirdly out of date, like something that should have come out in the mid-to-early aughts when Le Tigre was still making kids with asymmetrical haircuts bomp around. If it makes Icona Pop and Charli XCX into global household names, then good for them, but I’d rather listen to “Thrift Shop” for the 358th time than continue to get shouted at by these hiply accented ladies.

Production Notes:

The Cruisin’ USA production values and the metronomic thumping beat would lead you to believe that this would be a great song to dance to, but I’m not sure how easy that would be without the aid of slow motion. The only logical move is just jumping up and down and thrashing, and there’s not enough variation in the song to allow for much interpretation beyond that.

That said, as commercial-friendly as it sounds, my favorite part of the song is probably the rising and falling engine rev that propels it forward. It makes you feel as if you’ve walked into something that was in progress long before you stepped into the room, and will continue undaunted long after you leave. There’s nothing wrong with being unkillable, I suppose.

Lyrical Notes:

For how few lyrics this song has, I have a lot of questions about them. What does the narrator love? It sounds like she is either dismissive or outright resentful of her situation, so the chorus seems to come out of left field. Is the ex-lover born in the ’70s, and was she born in the ’90s? Is this about an intergenerational romance turned sour? The ’90s were filled with nostalgia for the ’70s, incidentally. How did she manage to crash her car into the bridge? Perhaps she is talking about an overpass piling? Or did her car actually jump out of a river and hit the bridge? I guess it still counts as crashing your car into a bridge even if you are driving on the bridge (i.e., driving into the guard rail or a suspension cable), since you would still be making impact with the bridge’s structure.

And here are some stabs at answers: She loves that she is finally acting out in response to a frustrating relationship. Or, more broadly, she loves life, unlike her stick-in-the-mud ex. She identifies ideologically with the ’90s, even if she was not necessarily born in them (which is very on-trend of her) and uses the currently out-of-vogue ’70s to contrast that. And re: the car and the bridge, I have no fucking clue.

Filed Under: Girls, On Repeat, Pop Music