girl power

Rating the Girl Power in Icona Pop’s Debut

Photo: Maya Robinson and Photos by Getty

The only requirements for girl-group categorization are that it’s made up entirely of female performers (the “girl” part) and it has more than one member (“group”). So, by definition, Icona Pop, purveyors of the effervescent hit “I Love It,” is a girl group, despite being comprised of just Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo. With their synchronized voices, club-ready dance songs, and (most important!) girl-power lyrics, the two Swedes are the closest thing we have to the Spice Girls right now. Hear us out! Women singing in perfect unison, themes of friendship and empowerment (with the occasional nod to “2 Become 1”), bangin’ (and often matching) fashion, and “too cool” foreign vibes — it all adds up to Spice Girls 2.0. But just how “girl power” is the girl power of Icona Pop? Let’s go through their debut album and compare.

1. “I Love It”
After driving a car into the bridge and throwing their man’s shit down the stairs, the Icona Pop women declare: “You’re from the seventies, but I’m a nineties bitch” — referring either to an oppressive father figure or, perhaps, someone’s older boyfriend. Who cares, get that a-hole outta here.
Girl Power Ranking:
5 out of 5 Spice Girls — and we’ll throw in an extra Union Jack dress.

2. “All Night”
With a video that pays homage to Paris Is Burning and voguing, “All Night” is all about staying up till dawn and dancing with whoever’s at your side: “We can smash the club / Make the pop go rock / With a love this deep / We don’t need no sleep / And it feels like / We could do this all night.” Better grab some 5-Hour Energy.
Girl Power Ranking:
3 out of 5 Spice Girls — but with Baby Spice’s hair in cheerful pigtails.

3. “We Got the World”
The girls of Icona Pop turn Freaks and Geeks with this one: “They say, ‘You’re a freak,’ when we’re having fun / Say, ‘You must be high,’ when we’re spreading love.” Translation: Haters gonna hate.
Girl Power Ranking:
4 out of 5 Spice Girls — and Sporty Spice adds a karate kick.

4. “Ready for the Weekend”
Has there ever been a better song to accompany Friday-night makeup application? Or bumping through your headphones on a Friday afternoon? TGIF: “The weekend is comin’ up, wanna go loud / The way we make this stripper shake when we go off.”
Girl Power Ranking:
2 out of 5 Spice Girls — like the time Baby asked Posh in Spice World: “I mean, having to decide whether to wear the little Gucci dress, the little Gucci dress, or … the little Gucci dress!”.

5. “Girlfriend”
Repurposing an old hook (which first referred to the relationship between Makaveli/2Pac and his gun and then to Jay Z and his then-girlfriend-now-wife Beyoncé) and turning it into a BFF anthem? Total Girl Power: “All I need in this life of sin is me and my girlfriend / Down to ride till the happy end, is me and my girlfriend.”
Girl Power Ranking:
5 out of 5 Spice Girls — as empowered as when the girls drive the double-decker Spice Bus over the bridge.

6. “In the Stars”
No need to call (or tweet!) Susan Miller, your astrology is pointing toward the club tonight: “Skies open, where we going / It’s in the stars, it’s who we are / Don’t you worry about the morning / It’s in the stars, it’s who we are.”
Girl Power Ranking:
4 out of 5 Spice Girls — like that part of “Wannabe” that goes: “ … you gotta get with my friends (gotta get with my friends).”

7. “On a Roll”
$100 is more than enough cash to have for the night, and when it just appears on the ground before you? That’s the idea behind “On a Roll” — drink and dance until you run out. It also serves up one of the album’s most BFF’able rhymes: “You go and pee / Your drink is so safe with me.”
Girl Power Ranking:
4 out of 5 Spice Girls — like these limited-edition Spice Girls dolls that start at only $22!.

8. “Just Another Night”
Just because they’re confident, doesn’t mean they don’t have hangups. “I wonder who you’re dancing with now / Are you doing the same?” the girls ask in “Just Another Night” — a belting slow jam with a steady build.
Girl Power Ranking:
1 out of 5 Spice Girls — the equivalent of everything involving Scary Spice and Eddie Murphy.

9. “Hold On”
Blame Stargate! The Norwegian production team crafted this forever longing pop song, which is totally un–Girl Power.
Girl Power Ranking: 1 out of 5 Spice Girls — a.k.a. Geri Halliwell’s solo career …

10. “Light Me Up”
Like advice you’d give to a BFF, “Light Me Up” is about the danger of taking risks — set to the catchiest chorus imaginable: I won’t, I won’t, I won’t hesitate / Even if I’m going down in flames.”
Girl Power Ranking: 4 out of 5 Spice Girls — basically on par with “Headlines (Friendship Never Ends).”

11. “Then We Kiss”
The song (and thus, the entire album) ends with a kiss, but the lead-up seems very Bonnie and Clyde — or better yet, Thelma & Louise: “Skyline, your moonlight / The sky boys we kick down / Police cars and sirens.”
Girl Power Ranking
: 2 out of 5 Spice Girls — but might fluctuate depending on whom you end up kissing.

Rating the Girl Power in Icona Pop’s Debut