Charli XCX, Lori McKenna, Iggy and the Stooges, Allison Miller: Critic’s Notebook

Notable recordings from the world of pop music.


Charli XCX. (Photo by Dan Curwin)

Charli XCX

For this 20-year-old British pop singer, love is a battlefield dusted in powdered sugar. The synth-pop confections that make up her new album, “True Romance,” compare heartache to lethal explosions, arrows puncturing flesh, and images even more gruesome. “I feel the skin dripping from my bones,” she sings during one lovelorn testimonial.

Her most gripping song, “Nuclear Seasons,” equates a romantic rough patch with mass annihilation, yet comes across subtle and sleek. It was also one of the finest pop singles released in 2011, meaning it took Charli XCX nearly two years to get this album out. That’s one battle we should all be thankful is finally over.

Charli XCX performs at U Street Music Hall June 3.

Lori McKenna

The 44-year-old country songwriter spends much of her superb new album, “Massachusetts,” narrating the ups, downs and in-betweens of American middle class marriages, but the opening track, “Salt,” shows how even the surest of things can turn toxic. “You ain’t worth the time,” McKenna sings with a scowl. “You ain’t worth the pain/You ain’t worth the spit in my mouth when I scream out your name.”

Iggy and the Stooges

This probably wasn’t the best month to appear on the cover of your new album strapped with explosives, but you’ll have to pardon Iggy Pop, the eternally feral 66-year-old rock deity, whose new album with the Stooges, “Ready To Die,” offers a funny, ferocious mouthful on stardom and survival.

Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom

This probably wasn’t the best month to re-introduce the world to your quartet, Boom Tic Boom, but you’ll have to pardon Allison Miller, the esteemed jazz drummer with Montgomery County roots, whose new album, “No Lilies, No Morphine,” offers an orderly, elegant meditation on love and mortality.

Boom Tic Boom performs at the Mansion at Strathmore on May 3.

Chris Richards became the Post's pop music critic in 2009. He has covered D.I.Y. house shows, White House concerts, go-go and Gaga.
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Chris Richards · April 26, 2013