Icona Pop are a Swedish synthpop duo comprising Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt. They first attracted attention when their debut single "Manners" was sampled by the American indie hip-hop twosome Chiddy Bang for their song "Mind Your Manners
". A year later they released this song, which became a breakthrough hit for the pair, reaching the top 10 in numerous countries.
British singer-songwriter Charli XCX co-wrote and features on this song. "We were home writing with our friend Patrik Berger, and he played us this track he wrote together with Charli XCX, who we had met in London a couple of times," recalled Jawo to Billboard magazine. "And we were like, 'Rewind. We want to do that song,' and asked if we could do it our way."
On the face of it the song is a celebration of a champagne-swilling lifestyle, but at the time the Icona Pop duo were both broke and heartbroken, which is reflected in their adaptation's stomping beats and angry lyrics. "The song was written at a time when we were in living in London and didn't have anything," explained Jawo to Billboard. "We didn't even have a real bed to sleep in when we sang that song. I think you can hear our frustration and anger, plus the heartache. It's a very honest song for us."
The song first gained attention in the United States as the theme song for the MTV Jersey Shore spinoff, Snooki & JWoww. The track then received a massive boost when it was featured in an episode of the HBO show Girls, during a scene in which creator-star Lena Dunham's character Hannah dances in slow-motion whilst on a cocaine binge at a Brooklyn club.
Charli XCX told UK newspaper The Sun
how her collaboration with Icona Pop came about: "I was in Sweden to do a writing session with Patrick Berger (Robyn's "Dancing On My Own
," Lana Del Rey's "Off To The Races
"), she recalled. "He sent me some beats beforehand. One was 'You're The One,' which is on my record, and the other one was 'I Love It.'"
"I just sat down and wrote it in half an hour," Charli continued. I knew straight away that it wasn't right for me as an artist but when Icona Pop came down to the studio a few weeks later and Patrick played them the song, they were really into it. They kept my vocal in there and put a whole new twist on it and took it to this crazy, amazing place. The rest is history."
The song doubles as a kiss-off to the Icona Pop duo's then boyfriends. "We were going through similar stuff, with dating pigs, and things were not going our way. And when that song came along, we just felt it, and we wanted people to feel our anger," Jawo explained to MTV News. "We felt the song was a strong song, and ... we just wanted to get the song out and get the pigs to hear it. You know who you are."
"Now, we meet them on the street when we're back home, and you're like 'Hi!' and they're like 'hi,'" Hjelt added. "And we're like 'Hahaha, thank you for the inspiration.'"
Charli XCX was working on her first album, True Romance
, when she came up with this song. Her record company wanted her to include it on that album, but she thought it didn't fit. The reason: she couldn't picture a music video to go along with it. "'I Love It' was something I couldn't visualize, and that's why I gave it away," she told Rolling Stone
Even though she gave the song away, it gave Charli a great career boost and more creative freedom. Her career took off a short time later with her Iggy Azalea collaboration "Fancy
" and her solo hit "Boom Clap
Hjelt explained the song's meaning to MTV UK: "It's a song about getting out of a really bad heartbreak," she said, "and how you slowly, slowly get up on your feet again and then one day you feel a little bit stronger and then you start to realize like 'you know what, I deserve better' and you feel kind of empowered again."
The song debuted at #1 on the UK singles chart. The tune's ascension to peak position was helped by it soundtracking an advert for Samsung mobile phones.
This song runs just 2:36, but it packs in more elements than a typical pop number. It starts off with a familiar verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus form, but then adds yet another verse/chorus/verse/chorus section, with each segment coming fast and furious.
Caroline Hjelt told NME regarding the difference between XCX's original version and their own recording: "The original was more cute, in a way," she said, "Charli's vocal was really cool and cocky, but we wanted the track to sound more Icona Pop so we took it to another producer called Style Of Eye. He made it exactly how we wanted it to sound."
In 2014, the rock band Buckcherry recorded a new version of this song with the title changed to "Say F--k It," which was released on an EP called F#CK
and issued by the band's own label, F-Bomb Records.
In our interview with Josh Todd of Buckcherry
, he explained why they covered the song: "I listen to a lot of pop radio with my kids and when that song was a hit I really liked it and wanted to make it a BC song."
Charli XCX has synaesthesia, a perceptual phenomenon that can make people see sounds as colors. Chris Martin, Lorde, Pharrell and John Mayer are among the other artists with the condition. She told the BBC, "I see music in colors. I love music that's black, pink, purple or red - but I hate music that's green, yellow or brown."
Charli added that she gave this song away to Icona Pop as it was the "wrong color."