If you were to look for an analogue for where Icona Pop fits into the music world, you’d probably start with Robyn. They have a lot in common—they’re both Swedish, and both manage to make dance pop with enough mainstream appeal to saddle up alongside Rihanna or Carly Rae Jespen but with a certain x-factor that places them on the cool-kid side of the cafeteria.
It’s hard to pin down exactly what this x-factor is. If it were as simple as embodying an “edgy” or “dangerous” lifestyle Rihanna would have everyone beat. My guess is that it has something to do with a certain punk aesthetic that comes with being perceived as self-made. Another thing Robyn and Icona Pop have in common is that they both started leaking one track at a time from their newest albums, well before the notion that there was any institution pushing a record. It seems no accident that the first line of the hook that put Icona Pop on the map is “I don’t care.”
Their newest video “We Got The World” dials up both sides of the pop/ punk-rock dialectic to 11. Shot in a casual, DIY-style that looks like they could have been holding the camera themselves for much of it, the video features the girls seizing the day like the lyrics promise—trashing hotel rooms, hanging out of car windows naked and generally not giving a fuck—alongside the most professional-sounding pop chorus you’re likely to hear this year. This is a giant chorus of lush keyboards and layered vocals that aims for the stars. It’s the kind of chorus that begs for an SNL appearance and, I swear, part of it sounds like a section of Belinda Carlisle’s ’80s mega-hit “Heaven Is A Place On Earth.”
Pairing a self-styled punk bacchanalia with a gigantic-sounding pop soundtrack seems to be a pretty promising recipe for Icona Pop. Some variation of that recipe has worked great for Robyn. “We Got The World” isn’t on Icona Pop’s recent “Iconic” EP. We’ll have to see if whatever album it portends has the songwriting chops to catapult them to Robyn’s level. Watch below.