There are good points and bad points about crowd-sourcing opinion, which is what Allie X did at the start of her CollXtion II campaign. On the one hand you curate an album that is suited to the taste of your fanbase (for better or worse), but on the other you risk people having heard everything by the time the full LP comes out.
But that’s assuming most people aren’t as savvy as Allie X. That’s never an assumption anyone should make, mind you – whether it’s her first album, live performances, or indeed this crowd-sourcing, there’s no doubt she has control as tight as those shades on her head when it comes to her image. The result? Yet another storming pop record from the genre’s most underrated auteur.
Of course, we’re a bit miffed that songs like Too Much To Dream and All The Rage aren’t present (the latter one? Modern Gaga could never even). But young Alexandra Hughes seems to have this abnormal talent of throwing out hits as if they were pocket lint. Moreover, it’s so forehead-smackingly simple on songs like Vintage that you wonder why someone else hasn’t gotten there before her.
Truth be told, CollXtion II posits Allie X as genuinely one of the finest pop songwriters of our generation. She can take it downtempo with Valley Girl on Need You and even through vocoding can impart so much emotion; elswhere, “one Hail Mary for the hole in my heart” on songs like Casanova makes a simple dance-house beat elevate to something way more interesting than any of her peers. Not to mention the chorus going “Casanova, fuck me over”. Where will you get anything this refreshing from any mainstream pop act?
If there’s any complaint it’s the mid-section that maybe floats a bit far from the bangers (songs that might have been replaced by the ones we mentioned earlier). But Allie X steers it back on Old Habits Die Hard and other such tales of torrid love; we might sound all doe-eyed over this young woman, but there’s no denying what she has at her command. With any luck people will take note, give her the recognition she deserves, and give the competition the kick up the arse it sorely needs.