An Xellent Effort: Review of “CollXtion II” by Allie X

I discovered Allie X completely by accident. I was looking for some new music to buy on iTunes and one of her songs happened to be in the Hot Tracks section. As a rule, I listen to every song by a female artist that appears there. Call it girls supporting girls. I liked the snippet, so I checked out the whole album. As the Roman numerals suggest, this turned out to be her second album. I haven’t given her first album a listen, so all my thoughts and opinions on these songs are based solely on this record. Allie is a very aesthetic singer, singing almost exclusively within only a few notes higher on the scale. In some ways, this is a shame because on songs like “Vintage” and “Casanova” she shows she actually has a lovely voice when she expands her range. Nonetheless, her choice vocal styling fits with the genre of music she inhabits. Her music can best be described as techno pop meets alt. pop. Her lyrics have that quirky Millennial vibe to them, a strange mix of jaded and hopeful. Allie X is an interesting new artist to watch, for sure.

  1. Paper Love- This song is one of Allie’s bigger singles, a tune about a toxic relationship she can’t stay away from. She knows he’ll only tear her apart (thus the paper metaphor), but can’t help herself. The song is accented by whistles and a strumming guitar. It’s easily one of my favorites.
  2. Vintage- This song is the most techno on the album, each chorus followed by an EDM beat drop. It’s a cute, charming love song. The metaphor doesn’t quite work here, but it’s so cute and poppy, I can’t help but groove to it. It’s another favorite.
  3. Need You (feat. Valley Girl)- This song stands somewhere between a ballad and a power ballad. Allie and Valley Girl mourn the loss of their relationship, each struggling to get over it. You start to wonder why, if they miss each other so much, they don’t just get back together. But then you have to consider, if they’re making themselves endure this much pain, whatever broke them up must’ve been a deal breaker. A funky effect is used over their voices providing a disorienting feel, like when you wake up from a long nap and don’t know who you are anymore. It’s no wonder why this song is one of Allie’s most popular.
  4. Casanova- In this song, Allie finds herself falling for a total player. Allie is completely hooked on this guy, unable to live without his love and touch. She tries to deny his nature, saying, “You’re no Casanova,” but she soon has to except the truth. This song is the most vocally experimental on the album, as she uses some lower notes, a larger range, and even sing-talks part of it. It was a fast favorite.
  5. Lifted- This is a pretty chill song about, what else? Getting high, of course. Allie has said it doesn’t have to be drugs that get you high, but that this is about and for the people who just don’t give a fuck anymore and are tired of real life. It even has a floaty quality to it. It’s honestly another favorite.
  6. Simon Says- Upon first listen, this song sounds like the story of a girl everyone dismisses except for her lover, presumably Simon. But then you start you realize a few things: 1. Allie says she doesn’t do anything unless Simon tells her to, throwing the supportive boyfriend theory out the window. Then you hear her say, “I got a friend, you’ll never see.” And then it hits you: Simon isn’t real. The narrator of the song is controlled by the voices in her head that manifest themselves as a loving man. It’s not that everyone else is critical of her; it’s that they can’t reach her or help her get better. It’s super twisted, and it wasn’t until I realized that that it became a favorite.
  7. Old Habits Die Hard- Speaking of dysfunctional, this song tells of a relationship Allie can’t stop going back to. She knows it’s bad for her, but it’s what she’s used to. She wants desperately to leave him, but can never quite seem to make that clean break.
  8. That’s So Us- This song is one of those rare songs about friendship. Allie talks about all the things she and her best friend have in common and what they do together. It seems to be a very tight friendship, the kind everyone craves. It’s the most bubblegum pop song on the album. This song was actually the song that brought me to this album, but it wound up being my least favorite on the record.
  9. Downtown- Yes, folks, this is a song about a girl enjoying when her lover goes down on her. And you know what? That’s fucking awesome. This needs to be normalized. It’s got a good groove and, I’ve got to say, it’s another favorite.
  10. True Love is Violent- This song is a very personal track, a ballad about a relationship that hurts so good, so to speak. It’s messy and painful, but their love is so deep they know they can make it through. They’re willing to go through hell for each other and suffer for each other, simply because they mean that much to each other. It’s easily another favorite.

Allie X is definitely someone whose backlog I am eager to check out. She has a distinct aesthetic, one she sticks to faithfully for her public persona. While I do wish she’d use more of her vocal range, I must admit, this album was a pleasant surprise. It was a solid effort and I’m definitely going to start paying more attention to Miss Allie X.

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