That we have here an exercise in eclectic modern pop rather than pure synth recreationism is evidenced in the crunchy guitar lines of “Runaway Love” — or the unexpected rap interludes (which listeners will find divisive). This fuck-you assertiveness (even in the absence of the “fuck”) proclaims a defiance that chimes with the mainstream pop paradigm (if also nodding to O’s characteristic play across a range of gendered stereotypes). It’s a mood that replaces Special Affections’ dark-edged tint — and, as a further nod to pop’s now-characteristic biographical qualities, closer “Day and Night” is a customary narrative of the travails of touring.
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