2013 was a crucial year for dance music in the United States. EDM was rising. Producers were becoming the new rockstars. Dance festivals like Ultra and EDC were the hottest tickets in town, and the genre was breaking through into the mainstream to the extent that, in January of 2013, Billboard launched its Hot Dance/Electronic songs chart as a place to track the stars of the burgeoning sound.
On May 28, 2013, the brightest stars on this chart were Swedish duo Icona Pop, who rocket-launched into mainstream consciousness on the power of their maximal singalong smash, “I Love It.” The song spent two weeks in the No. 1 position on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart and also hit No. 7 over on the Hot 100.
It’s easy to hear why. Written by Charli XCX, who’s also featured on the song, the song was a confetti blast of electro-pop enthusiasm, outfitted with a relentless kick drum, hands in the air synths and zoomy bass that altogether didn’t sound so different from the moment’s relentlessly in-your-face EDM productions by then emerging artists like Dada Life, Zedd and Avicii.
Extremely well-suited for drunkenly jumping around on the dancefloor and screaming the lyrics with your best friends, the song also checked many boxes in the pop-electronic category, landing it amongst hits by contemporaries like Robyn, Lady Gaga and David Guetta, the latter of whom had done much to build bridges between pop and dance with his 2011 breakthrough LP, Nothing But the Beat.
“I Love It” is of course a breakup anthem, but a broken heart rarely sounded so joyfully indignant. Icona Pop members Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt were both experiencing romantic drama when they were passed Charli XCX’s demo and, loving the song’s sound and attitude, they made it their own.
“It feels like we wrote it, otherwise we wouldn’t have recorded it,” Jawo said of the song in a 2012 interview. “In the beginning, it sounded really different, so it’s weird how you can just imagine the Icona Pop chorus and then the shouting. We were like, ‘This is our song.’ And Charli thought this was a fun thing.”
“We took it to [producer] Style Of Eye and told him, ‘This is the feeling that we want on it. We want the punkiness,” Hjelt continued. “We want the ‘f-ck it’ feeling. We want everything that we felt when we were singing it.’” e
Unseated from the No. 1 position on Hot Dance/Electronic Songs in early June by Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” “I Love It” ultimately spent 17 weeks on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart and remains Icona Pop’s highest charting song to date. Seven years after its release, it remains an essential banger for the jilted, with Icona Pop also getting good use out of the song’s IDGAF sentiment.
“I’m just so happy,” Jawo said in the same 2012 interview, “that the guys who actually did break my heart have heard that song thousands of times in Sweden.”