If someone told me a year ago that I would become a Charli XCX fan in the future, I would’ve told them to shove it up their heinie (heiny? hinnie? help?). As far as pop music goes, I never really showed an interest. However, with the recent rise in popularity of artists like Lizzo and Carly Rae Jepsen (and with some persuasion), I gave Charli XCX a go. After listening through her discography, I knew that she had something new to offer the pop genre that is unmatched by her contemporaries. Her past mixtapes showcase a wide variety of production, creating a distinct experimental pop sound paired with tongue in cheek lyrics about sex and partying. Her style has paved the way for hyperpop artists like Slayyyter and Dorian Electra to put out complex yet catchy pop songs that add more substance to the music than the formulaic Top 40 music that I always associated with the genre.
With the release of her first full-length album, Charli really brought it. Songs such as “1999” featuring Troye Sivan and “Blame It on Your Love” featuring Lizzo bring you that clean and polished pop sound—very straightforward and fun. However, she also makes sure to include the absurd, explicit dance-club vibe that we know Charli for on tracks like “Shake It” featuring Big Freedia, Cupcakke, Brooke Candy, and Pabllo Vitarr. Later on, behind the veil of flashy party bops about drugs and sex, Charli opens up about her personal struggles. On tracks like “White Mercedes”, “Thoughts”, and “Gone”, Charli sings about her difficulties with love and intimacy, insecurities, and, for the first time in her discography, her own mental health. We really get a sense of who Charli (sans XCX) is from this album, and for precisely that reason, I love it. (5/5)