Anyone that has known me for an extended period of time should know how much of a huge Charli XCX fan I have been for a very long time. In fact, when talking about this album with my brother last week, he mentioned that I “have been on the Charli train” for years and years. So as you can probably imagine, I have been very psyched for the release of this album since it was announced. Charli is one of the few big pop stars of today that truly does not seem to care about what is trending in music at all; she has always tried to push the boundaries of what pop music is, and has been a major trendsetter for a while because of it. I really do think in 10-15 years we will look at the 2010s era of Charli XCX’s music as the main inspiration for pop music at that time. She is one of those artists that people will look back at as having been one of the most progressive and important artists of her generation. I do not even think that is a bold statement at all; if you think I am wrong, look up what Charli’s contemporaries think of her music. This album actually had quite a few singles released from it, starting with the Troye Sivan-assisted ‘1999,’ which was dropped at the end of 2018. Other singles like ‘Blame It On Your Love’ featuring Lizzo, ‘Gone’ featuring Christine and the Queens, and ‘Warm’ featuring Haim have kept all of us fans fiending for this new record for a while now because every single has been so good. This album is full of so many awesome features besides those ones that I mentioned. Charli really did such an excellent job of finding the boldest and most unique voices in music today and creating really cool genre-bending music with them. This record is fricken excellent, and there is not one bad track on here. It is amazing that every song is so high quality considering it is 15 song record with so many different and random features. It is really tough to make every song great on any album, let alone one with so many different types of sounds. Charli is a really great example of everything that makes Charli XCX so great and unique as an artist.
I go hard go fast, and I never look back. I go speeding on the highway. Burn rubber, no crash. Turn the volume up in the party. Put your hands up and dance. Bump! Bump! In the rave go forever and ever…
The opening track of this record is called ‘Next Level Charli,’ and honestly it is the best way this record could have opened. As you can see from the lyrics above, this song is a prime party track, This one is meant to be blasted as loud as your speaker goes and sung at the top of your lungs. This track will just make you want to dance. The bass is so buzzy and the melody is so sweet and fun. It is perfect for what it is supposed to be. After ‘Next Level Charli’ is the Christine and the Queens assisted banger ‘Gone.’ This song was released as a single a few months back, and it has been one of my favorite songs all year. Lyrically, this song addresses social anxiety, with Charli and Chris singing about being in a room and releasing everyone there does not actually care and is using you. Their chemistry on this track is so palpable. I love the distorted synths that start to come in during the middle of the track. It really adds to the emotion of the song. Also, this song is worth listening to just for the breakdown at the end. It goes hard as hell. The production on this album is incredible.
‘Cross You Out,’ which features model, singer, and badass Sky Ferreira, has a way softer tone than the first two tracks of the record. The melody of this song is sort of masked into a rattling and slow bass drum, putting the focus on Charli and Skye’s voices more than anything. The vocals on this song are so pretty. ‘Cross You Out’ is a really great kickback track. After that, we get the iconic ‘1999.’ As I stated before, this song features Troye Sivan, and interestingly enough it is not the only song on this record featuring him(so stay tuned). This song is such a banger, man. If you have not seen the music video, definitely check it out. Charli and Troye re-live a lot of the most iconic pop culture moments from the 90s, and it is fricken rad.
Get what I want like “click!” They want a pic like “click!” Cheers with the glass like “click!” Cash register goes “click!” You can’t fuck with my clique!
‘Click’ is one of the most wild and conceptually “out there” tracks on Charli. It features two other experimental artists, Kim Petras and Tommy Cash, and has one of the strangest instrumentals and overall feelings that you will get from a pop record. This song makes me want to riot and rage. It is very intense and in your face and fun. ‘Click’ may not be for everyone, but those people into avant-garde music or experimental electronic stuff should dig this one. The next song, ‘Warm,’ brings the album back down to earth. It features Haim, and is a sweet and melodic love joint with some weird glitchy production. I love the harmonies from Haim and Charli on this song. Once again, the vocals are really pretty. It is cool that on the songs that are not as experimental, the spotlight is stolen by Charli and her guests’ voices.
The next song, ‘Thoughts,’ is immediately captivating because of the loud and buzzy sweet-sounding synths that start out this one. ‘Thoughts’ is one of the songs on the album where Charli puts herself out there the most, singing about drowning herself in drugs and alcohol because she can not stop thinking about someone she has lost. This song has one of the prettiest melodies on this album, and once again Charli’s vocals steal the spotlight. I love the strange heavily auto-tuned moaning sounds at the end. They are weird and futuristic and dope. ‘Blame It On Your Love’ is a lot lighter and more fun, although lyrically it is still pretty somber sounding. The melody of this song is really fun, and the lyrics, although somewhat sad, are very tongue in cheek. This track features hip hop superstar Lizzo, and of course, she murders it. Lizzo and Charli sound really great together on the same song, and this is a collaboration we will definitely need again in the near future.
I take all of these blue and yellow pills, but nothing seems to last like you. You’re chasing after something that you will never catch. Like a white Mercedes, always been running too fast…
The next two tracks are two of my personal favorites on the album. The first of those is ‘White Mercedes,’ which is once again a slower and more chill song. I really like this kind of music from Charli; it really shows how diverse she is. Obviously, she can make some of the best party anthems you will hear, but she also has this delicate and vulnerable side that she is not afraid to show. The instrumental for this song is like a synthy and slow alternative rock joint; it is pretty low key, which makes you focus on Charli’s voice and the lyrics. This is just such a pretty song. ‘Silver Cross’ brings back the party vibes, as it sounds a lot like an 80s synth-pop joint. This song gives me major Carly Rae Jepsen vibes. It obviously has that awesome and futuristic flair that pretty much everything Charli does has, though. This song just makes me want to dance; it is so fun and positive and upbeat. After this, Charli hits us with the two most low key songs on the record. ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’ and ‘Official’ are pretty mellow by Charli’s standards. Both of these songs have weird and synthy slow pop instrumentals that are not really typical of Charli, and both of them make you focus on the lyrics. The best thing about these two tracks is the songwriting. Charli has long been one of the best songwriters in pop music (she has written quite a few of your favorite songs from other artists), and these two showcase that ability probably more than anything else on this record. I also feel like these two tracks are kind of a mellow buffer for the last three, which are some of the strangest and most avant-garde and futuristic songs on the album. The sudden transition from singer-songwriter pop to weird at the end of this album is so rad.
The three songs that end this album are some of the weirdest and experimental tracks that Charli has made so far in her career, and honestly, that is saying something. She really let it loose for these last three songs, catapulting us even further into her party-filled futuristic, glitchy, and glamorous world. ‘Shake It,’ which features Brooke Candy, cupcaKKe, Pablo Vittar, and Big Freedia, is definitely going to be a gay club and party anthem. Along with featuring two of the best drag queens in music with Pablo and Big Freedia, she gets verses from two of the best sexual/fetish rappers in the game to create this glitchy and mechanical and robot dance anthem. I do not even know how to describe this one because it is so different from any other song you are going to hear, so please just trust me and check out ‘Shake It’ because it is awesome. Charli keeps up the strange and glitchy production in her next track, ‘February 2017,’ as well. This song features vocals from Clairo and production from Yaeji. I really love Clairo’s vocals on this song, and I really really love the way she meshes and harmonizes with Charli so well. This song also has more of a sad tone, with Charli singing about regretting screwing over one of her friends back in February of 2017, but you would never guess it is sad by the production. The melody is so sweet and pretty, and the glitchy, fun production is hard not to start dancing to. The lyricism and instrumental create a cool juxtaposition that it seems like only Charli is able to achieve in pop music these days. The last track on Charli, which is called ‘2099,’ is the other song on the album to feature the young gay icon that is Troye Sivan. The production on this song sounds like it comes straight from 2099; it is robotic and bass-heavy and melodic and synthy and just super cool. I really do not know where you will find another song like this, because it is truly so unique. Charli and Troye’s chemistry on this song is once again so freaken great; I would really love to hear a collaborative project from this duo. ‘2099’ seems like the perfect end to Charli, as it is so definitely super weird and futuristic and poppy in the best way, just like Charli XCX herself.
Maybe I am being biased because I have liked Charli XCX so much for such a long time, but I honestly do not have one bad thing to say about this album. There is not a song that I dislike on here, and nothing seems out of place at all; everything about this record exemplifies who Charli is as an artist. A lot of people call her a pop futurist, and if this is the pop of the future, I am very excited. If you love pop music, you have to listen to this one all the way through. It is a near perfect pop record.