CHARLI (CHARLI XCX)

RELEASED 13TH SEPTEMBER 2019

Favourite track: I Don’t Wanna Know

Charli XCX takes you to her world of metallic sounds and synth basslines as she gives us a range of catchy songs that you’ll play until the end.

I have been familiar with British pop star, Charlie XCX, since she released the massive hit ‘Boom Clap’ back in 2014. I was intrigued by her new album Charli because there were so many collaborations with current trending artists. I can’t say I’m very familiar with her music but I want to see what this album is like. Her voice is great for experimental Pop and I can see it working well with some of the artists featured on the album. It has this 80s sound to it that reminds me of Cyndi Lauper with a twist, but for this generation. The cover art is Charli XCX donning a kinda Cleopatra style wig, nude with a lilac metallic serpent looking bit of body jewellery. I love it personally. If that snake is supposed to be the asp that bites the famous Egyptian queen, I’ve figured it all out.  

Image credit: smarttimes.com

‘Next Level Charli’ opens with Dance music style synths and subtle bass as it builds. We then get Charli XCX chanting as we have spaceship battle sounds and a quiet beat. It sounds very futuristic. ‘Gone’ (featuring Christine and the Queens) is a Pop song with attack. It has a strong beat and heavy bass with claps effects and a catchy chorus. Sky Ferreira features on ‘Cross You Out’ which opens up with some 80s style synths and a threatening bass. It’s still very futuristic but I like the chorus. There is depth to this song even though it’s relatively slow. Troye Sivan features on the very commercial Pop song ‘1999’ (Prince anyone?). This one is quite a Dance anthem and you do find yourself moving to the electric pop tune. ‘Click’ (featuring Kim Petras and Tommy Cash) has this distorted sound to it with a kind of rap delivered by her and then a crazy hard beat and bassline that jumps in and out. I think the word to use is ‘chaotic’ but I actually love this one. HAIM sings on ‘Warm’ which another robotic, futuristic song but this beat and melody is soooo catchy. It has a light sound and then a heavy synth FX bass do give it some grounding.

If you want drama, ‘Thoughts’ delivers this. It’s like full-on synth chords with a melancholic sound, especially when she delivers those VERY high notes. You get a sense of her being ‘in her feelings’ here for sure. Then we’re suddenly shaken up with a dancy beat and fast lyrics in her song ‘Blame It On Your Love’ (featuring Lizzo….btw her verse is just wowwww). The instrumentals in the chorus are crazy but you’ll move to it. ‘White Mercedes’ is more simple in its construction as it builds with some plucked guitar into a very Katy Perry style verse. ‘Silver Cross’ is a good song but wasn’t super memorable for me.   

‘I Don’t Wanna Know’ has a slow retro 80s echo beat and then some slow synth keyboard chords as she sings about “kisses that should have been mine” and not wanting to know “what you’ve done” in the most beautiful way. I fell in love with this song, lyrics and the way she delivers it. ‘Official’ opens with a repetitive note and then slower lyrics but I wasn’t a huge fan of it although it did get more intricate as I carried on listening. ‘I Shake It’ features a whole load of artists. We’ve got Big Freddia, cupcakKe, Brooke Candy and Pabllo Vittar on a robotic cutting song with a strong bass. I think this song will make you ‘shake it’ to be honest. I feel like this song should have included Lizzo because she would make it iconic. The robotic, cutting vocal effects make it really weird (not to mention the whispered verses). It’s an odd combination of sounds. Clairo and Yaeji feature on ‘February 2017’ which has a very UK Rap opening beat but a soft warm wave in the background and a Pop delivery. It then bursts into an ethereal Dance anthem so there we go. I like how we’ve gone 100 years into the future with Troye Sivan as he takes us from 1999 to ‘2099’ which is a futuristic dream with some spacey attack. I like the change in tone here and range of sounds. The pan of the vocals is also interesting. Then the sound completely changes into a soft bassline and xylophone sounds.

You can never have a consistent sounding song because she’s full of variety and it works really well. This would be good for a Dance club, futuristic themed party or late drive.