After listening to Allie X’s debut, CollXtion II, the first two times, I immediately thought ’it’s undisputed…she’s a princess of pop.’ Its been in constant rotation the last two weeks, and my initial thoughts are solidified. Allie X is one of the best in pop.
During the build-up to release, CollXtion II received minimal publicity, the lack of buzz was and still is apparent. It’s a damn shame a talented songstress can fly so far under the radar. Why? Because Allie X has all the key ingredients that is needed for pop stardom.
Not only is her song-writing brilliant (she knows how to write bombastic, glitzy choruses), X’s voice melds with the production to be another knock-out punch. It’s rare for a pop artist to possess all the necessary qualities to succeed without a well-oiled machine behind them. Whilst Allie X doesn’t have a major label backing her (through her own choice) she has enough talent and a slowly enlarging, cult fanbase.
One of the most obvious things that comes to mind after a few tracks in, is that Allie X is the Queen of melodies. As soon as “Casanova” begins and X’s soft vocals ooze in, it’s clear she knows how to deliver melodies with finesse. Even the verses have such a catchiness, that I was completely taken aback by the chorus.
It’s one of the purest examples of pop perfection, it’s bloody brilliant and it never loses its impact. The way she cooly delivers, ‘Casanova, fuck me over/left me dying for your love,’ is truly wondrous. In writing it sounds fairly simplistic but the execution is what makes it special.
“Lifted” and “Simon Says” round off a trifecta of how to write pop music 101. These two tracks alone display X’s flavour of darkened bubblegum production with an abundance of killer hooks and song-writing prowess on display. “Lifted” is a dreamy affair backboned by a woozy synth line riding atop a cataclysmic bass-line.
Whereas “Simon Says” is an eerie take on the childhood phrase, featuring melancholic vocals and an ominous chorus. There isn’t a track that dips below the high-bar that is set early on. Nothing meanders or lingers for too long, every piece of the musical puzzle seems purposeful.
For example, “Old Habits Die Hard” is a fine example of song composition. From beginning to end, it’s filled with all the key elements of what makes a song great. It has lush melodies, quirky vocals, razor-sharp lyricism, a disco hook and a glass-shattering chorus. All the songs offer something and I found myself being completely captivated by it all.
Whilst Allie X delivers brilliant song writing on her debut, the production is also fantastic. To sum it up, it’s supercharged bubblegum pop. Instrumentals are larger than life, even when there are some ‘mechanical’ moments. The musical backdrops are diverse and polished, contributing to the well-rounded experience. The bass often thumps and thuds without being overbearing. The synths sizzle and ricochet.
CollXtion II sounds alive, and its liveliness is strengthened by the vocals. Vocally, Allie is smooth and sweet. She has a strong range, soaring highs and a controlled mid. The way she commands her voice, it all seems so effortless. The album exudes emotion and passion.
I can’t say it any more plainly, her debut LP is excellent and it feels as if it was a blast to make. The music reflects that. It’s the most fun I’ve had listening to an album in quite some time. It’s full of sentiment, bops and bangers. CollXtion II is this year’s Emotion, a sure-fire underrated, under recognised pop gem that has the potential to join the long list of decade defining pop.
Allie X CollXtion II is available now via Sugar Music. Purchase it on iTunes here.
Words By Jake Gould