Icona Pop Releases New Album “Club Romantech”
Swedish electro-pop duo Icona Pop, consisting of Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt, released their highly anticipated second international album “Club Romantech” on September 1, 2023.
It is their first album in a decade since the 2013 album “This Is... Icona Pop”.
The album began life as the world slipped into lockdown at the onset of the Global Pandemic when Icona Pop made the tough decision to sell their Los Angeles home and return to Stockholm to quarantine.
With plans derailed and a new sense of focus, these longtime friends found themselves back “in the studio where it all started.” Channelling the nostalgic setting into forging new ideas, the pair set about re-engaging with their electronic and alternative roots from an evolved perspective as proven performers and accomplished songwriters, 'getting back to what we love' in more ways than one.
The album comprises 15-track, with guest appearances from Joel Corry , Rain Radio, Yaeger, Galantis, VIZE, Ultra Naté and Sofi Tukker.
- Caroline Hjelt said of the album, “As Icona Pop, we can release a pop tune or a super hard dance song, and that's who we are. When we started to write this album, we didn't have any rules. We just had a vision we wanted to share with our fans. We're inviting them into our world.”
Aino Jawo said, “We put all of our problems and stress into what we're doing. We love disguising our heartbreaks and sadness in uplifting songs you can dance to. It was a very emotional process, and it's all in the music. We got back to what we love. It was the quietest period we've experienced in 10-plus years, so it's crazy we made such danceable music. We felt the need to do something more up-tempo.”
“We're addicted to touring,” Aino Jawo told Apple Music. “It's like, 'OK, this year went by. Next year, we're going to sit down and write an album. OK, this year went by...' Suddenly it's been five years.”
Caroline Hjelt continued, “It's a freedom feeling for us and I hope people feel that when they listen to the album.”
The duo explained track-by-track for the album via Apple Music.
“Fall In Love”
Caroline Hjelt: “It's a love song about falling so hard for someone that you can't… It's like hitting a wall. You can barely breathe or function or talk, and you're like, 'Is it supposed to feel this way?' It feels amazing, but it's also scary, and you almost feel nauseous. The lyrics [are] very direct. But we played around a lot with the melodies and production.”
“Desire” with Joel Corry and Rain Radio
Caroline Hjelt: “Aino was like, 'I've been watching this Indian matchmaking show and it's got some crazy melodies. We should do something like this.' So that inspired the melodies. The message of the song is just, like, when you're trying to make someone follow you into your deepest secrets like, 'You should join me on this journey. Don't be afraid. You should trust me. It might be weird, it might be dark, it might be amazing, but you should just trust me and come with me.'”
“Shit We Do For Love” with Yaeger
Caroline Hjelt: “We were all in the studio just talking about different things. Of course, you always end up talking about love, but we started talking about, like, it's insane, the crazy stuff you can do for love sometimes. When you're just like, 'OK, this is not me. I'm not this person. I would never do that.' But you can become that person when it's about love. I feel like that song has this bright feeling about it, but also a dark feeling about it, like melancholic... It makes me really want to dance my heart out, but with a little bit of sadness, too.“
“Stick Your Tongue Out”
Aino Jawo: “It's a very sexy song, I would say. It's about tasting someone, basically making out with someone. We were in LA and we were supposed to jump on a plane, but our plane got canceled. So we got one more day in LA and we were like, 'What are we going to do?' Then our friend, a great producer, Tim [Nelson], was like, 'Let's jump into the studio and have fun.' We started and it happened so naturally. And we felt that, OK, we have this amazing part. We shouldn't overwork it. It should just be that simple message of 'Stick Your Tongue Out.'”
“Make Your Mind Up Babe”
Caroline Hjelt: “I feel like a lot of people can relate: You're in a toxic relationship, you deserve better—but you can't let go even though you want to. And you're like, 'Why do I always fall for this?' It's weird how something so unsafe can still make you feel safe because you don't know any better, so you can't imagine how it would be without it. And this song is like, 'Come on, make up your mind. It's time. Can't keep on doing this. You have to make a choice.'”
"Stockholm at Night"
Aino Jawo: “'Stockholm at Night' is a song about our friends in Stockholm and what we used to do. Things have changed so much for me and Caroline; we've been abroad for 10-plus years. And now, when we moved back, things are... I mean, people have grown up and have proper jobs, and we're still doing what we did 10 years ago. Our lifestyle is so different from theirs, but we still have this beautiful connection when it comes to going out dancing, reminiscing. It's so beautiful how we all can meet in that space, and everything is like it used to be for a little small second.”
"Where Do We Go From Here"
Caroline Hjelt: “I feel like Aino and I had almost two different views on what we were singing about. For me it was like, 'We're here now in a very good place. We have all these things, we have our friends, we're so happy… Where do we go from here?' Almost that feeling of, sometimes, when things are really good, you're almost scared that it will end, or how are you going to top this? Is it going to keep on going? That was my feeling of when we started writing the song.”
Aino Jawo: “And for me, it's more of a sad song. It's more like, 'So what do we do now?' We're constantly looking for new highs as human beings. We never think things are good enough. You're not happier just because you have more money. We were just talking about it and realized that we wrote this song with two different meanings. That's the beauty of music.”
"I Want You" with Galantis
Aino Jawo: “That song is very forward: I want you. No time for bullshit. We've been talking to so many friends about this. When you've been dating for a while and you're just so tired of playing the game. If you find someone you like, you're like, 'Hey, I like you. How do you feel about me?' Because you just cross the line of, 'Oh, I'm not going to text you. Oh, I'm going to play hard to get,' because you're just so dumb doing that.”
"Loving You Ain't Easy"
Caroline Hjelt: “It was a very fun process to sing that one because we used our vocals a little differently. But 'Loving You Ain't Easy' is a pretty sad love song. It's about not giving up on someone who's not ready to be loved, basically. You know that that person is toxic, but sometimes you fall for someone and you think that you can change that person. I think that's also a song that people can relate a lot to unfortunately, and what we've been through, both of us, in our lives. And that just leaves you a little afraid of loving someone. Love is amazing when it's good, but when it's bad, it tears you up.”
Aino Jawo: “A little bit on the same subject. It's a song about, you're in a relationship with someone that's not ready to be loved. And that's so heartbreaking because you're like, 'I know you need me, I need you. But you're just not ready for my love. I'm trying here, but it's not enough.' When we wrote that song, one of our friends was going through a situation like this, and it was heartbreaking to see her go from this blooming woman to this really sad person just because that person was not able to give love to her. I remember it so clearly. So it's definitely a sad story about this person, but also something I've been going through. And yeah, it's hard.”
"Off of My Mind" with VIZE
Caroline Hjelt: “We wrote that song together, and then our friends VIZE jumped on it. [This song's about] when you try to get someone off your mind—'please leave my memory, leave my body, leave my everything.' When you're obsessed with someone and everything reminds you of them, like a smell or hearing a song can take you back to these memories."
Caroline Hjelt: “Nothing deep about that song except the bass. We wanted to make a song that we could DJ. We made 'Faster' and we were like, 'I love this song. I want to dance to it. Let's not overthink this song. Let's not try to do a proper pop structure with verse, pre-chorus. Let it just be the weird song that it is.'”
"You're Free" with Ultra Naté
Aino Jawo: “We've been huge fans of Ultra Naté, and we grew up with that song. I don't quite remember the process, but I think we were DJing and talking about [how] we should really do something with this song, like a remix or a feature. Then a couple of days later in a session, we started to sing that song over a beat and it sounded so dope. We were like, 'OK, we need to clear it so we can use this song.' So we reached out to Ultra Naté's team and a couple of days later, we got a text and she was so stoked about the track. She was like, 'Can I be with you on the track? And by the way, it's 20 years since we released that song, so this is an awesome new interpretation.' She's such a queen.”
"Feels in My Body"
Aino Jawo: “That one is a song about feeling like you're almost misplaced and alone, searching for someone you can connect with that has the same feelings. Like, when you feel like you have so much emotion and you want to dance and do all these things, and no one understands you. You're just looking for that person who will look at you and be like, 'I'm in. Let's do this.'”
"Spa" with Sofi Tukker
Caroline Hjelt: “It was funny because we're singing, 'I'm done with the club, just take me to the spa'—almost like, 'OK, I've been clubbing for too long. I need a spa. I need to take care of my body.' But when it got released, it was [during the] pandemic and we were like, 'We can't even go to the club now.' But yeah, that was so much fun.”
Photo by Lamia Karic
- source : Apple Music